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Lindsay’s Terrible Secret: A Short Story

Secret 1The most remarkable thing about Lindsay was that she was very unremarkable.

She kept, however, a terrible secret.

She had been chosen. She knew not for what, by whom, or why. She knew only that she had been chosen.

Safe in this knowledge, Lindsay could sit alone and apart, whether she was with others or not. She acquiesced to the circumstances of her life, as they were presented to her. She filled her time with a faint concern for the mundane, waiting for her destiny to happen.

She pursued a career of little interest to her, but that met the expectations of her family and friends. She indifferently took a husband, thoughtlessly had children, and casually let everyone who had ever tried to love her drift away. She neither celebrated nor was celebrated and she was neither known nor unknown.

Lindsay was dissatisfied with the arc and experience of her life. She often wondered how it might have been different, if she had not stayed true to her terrible secret. She was sure, nevertheless, that her life, however unsatisfying, would be vindicated eventually, once she knew what she had been chosen for, by whom, and why.

Her faith wavered only at the very last, in the final minutes of her life, when she lay alone, on a bed in a dark corner of a small room in a small house with no friends or family to comfort her.

It was at that last moment that the fairy finally appeared at the foot of her bed.

“At last,” Lindsay croaked, her dry throat unfamiliar with conversation. The fairy’s impossible beauty forced Lindsay to shield her eyes. “Please, fairy, tell me for what I was chosen, by whom, and why. Please vindicate this life I have lived.”

“Poor old woman,” replied the fairy. “I can’t do that for you. No one can. No one nor thing in this life, world, or universe can choose you or anyone in the way you mistakenly thought you were chosen.”

At that moment, an atom of doubt that had long lived deep in Lindsay’s being imploded like a star, and a deep, long, and infinitely black hole of understanding tore open inside of her. Everything that she was and had been began to tear off bit by bit into that deep sucking well of sorrow.

Deep in that well, on the cusp of oblivion, Lindsay heard the clear brilliant voice of the fairy.

“Hold yourself, Lindsay,” said the fairy. “I have taken pity on you. Do not despair. You’re one of the lucky ones.”

Lindsay, then, lived her life again, absent the notion that she had been chosen for anything. She knew and understood that the choices she made were hers and hers alone, even when she decided to follow the choices of others -- blindly or not.

Lindsay’s eyes blinked. She was once more in the final minutes of her life, shielding her eyes from the impossible beauty of the fairy.

“It was all the same,” she said in shock. “Every choice was the same, but this time my understanding of it was so much different. I cherished every moment, every person, and I saw beauty everywhere, even in the deepest thickets of heartache and sorrow and loneliness.” Lindsay looked directly at the fairy for the first time. “Because I willed it,” she said.

“Yes,” said the fairy. “Because you willed it.”

As peace embraced every fiber of Lindsay's being, she thanked the fairy. “I did not do anything to deserve this knowledge.”

“It’s true, Lindsay,” replied the fairy, “you did not do anything to deserve this knowledge, nevertheless, you did not do anything to deserve not knowing it either. We don’t deserve anything that happens or does not happen to us. There is no such ledger. There is only life, living, and the choices we make.”

And with that, Lindsay lived happily ever after.

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