I felt myself slip out of consciousness when a gust of wind blew past, and a blinding light enveloped my surroundings. A deafening silence followed suit as I felt myself float midair and a warm sensation touched my forehead. I opened my eyes and the moment I adjusted to the light, I gasped.
These people, I didn’t know any of them! A group of foreigners was inside a grandiose room divided in two by a gauzy curtain. The place seemed to belong to a set for musicals or a Disney movie; everything was majestic and cut out from history. The room was similar to palace museums that I visited as a child. The walls were mostly white, with the hint of the faintest pink and the furniture was magenta in color; everything looked so regal.
I saw a worried worn-out woman covered in sweat lying in bed and reaching her hand out. Two ladies wearing matching blue dresses stood on either side of the bed, bowing their heads.
There was a man wearing a Prince Charming outfit on the other side of the curtain. Behind him was a slightly aged man in a tailcoat. On the left corner of the prince’s side of the room stood three women wearing floor-length, intricately designed crinoline ball gowns. Across were four other women with mobcaps; one wore a simple beige dress and the others wore the same outfit of light mustard.
In front of the prince was an old woman wearing a similar beige dress with a pained expression on her face and kneeling on the ground while tightly holding a blooded child wrapped in a white cloth.
‘Wait… don’t tell me…’
My eyes grew bigger as I realized. The scene in front of me was what I was just experiencing as that baby!
‘What the hell is happening?! Something’s wrong! Something is definitely wrong! Don’t tell me, this is where humans get judged when they die… a place between life and death? Oh, no! Is this some kind of a judgment hall?’
As I saw more, I noticed that these people were not moving, as if time stopped for them. Confused, I looked at my body. I was shocked, not because I was glowing, but because I have a body of a newly born child.
‘Is this my punishment for what I did when I was still alive? But it’s not my fault. I didn’t want it to happen. I was a victim. I needed it to save myself, to prevent myself from hurting someone innocent, so why am I here?’
“It’s not your fault,” a sad, familiar voice told me.
I looked up. I saw a beautiful person even though she was literally glowing. I could still see her sadness and sorrow. She glided towards me and reached for my cheek. I felt myself grow back into my twenty-six-year-old self just by her majestic touch. My body shook and as soon as her hand touched me, I couldn’t control my emotions and tears started to roll down my cheeks. I put my hands atop of hers and wept.
“It’s okay. Everything’s okay. No one will hurt us anymore,” she said.
That comment only made me bawl even more.
The person in front of me was someone I knew very well; the one who knew everything about me, and the one I knew everything about. She was in her prime, a very beautiful lady carved to perfection. My creation, my ideal self: Mariana.
Her smile didn’t waver; the love and concern in her eyes were still evident up until now despite everything. As I met her gaze, everything came flashing back to me. Her tears fell the moment she closed her eyes, as she rested her forehead on mine. I understood. I knew...
‘I did it. There’s no turning back.’
I sobbed my eyes out as I started to think of the aftermath of what I had to do — sorrow, regret, repentance, satisfaction, acceptance, peace. I looked at her: “Don’t worry about us. Trust me, I won’t lose this time.”
She didn’t say more and only smiled back at me. We didn’t break eye contact as I watched her fade away.
‘I’ll make sure there will be no regrets this time.’ I promised myself.
Oh, how I wished I was only lucid dreaming; there was a side of me wishing for all of this to be just a fantasy, but most of me was hoping it was real. I truly wished for the pain to disappear and that I got what I wished for.
There was no turning back as I felt myself get sucked into the newborn’s body… into my new life.