The Unsolvable

Posted on May 13, 2013

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“If I could give you anything,” he said, pacing back and forth, wiping sweat from his brow, “what would it be?”

On his knees, staring down, the other responded, “What do I deserve?”

Agitated, the other stopped in his tracks, wiping away more sweat. He got down on one knee, put his hands on the man’s shoulders. He looked up, their eyes met. “Nothing,” he whispered. He stood. “You’re worthless,” he said a little louder. “Worthless!” he shouted, and looked around, listening to the echo in the vast emptiness. He snapped his fingers. Immediately, it stopped being so hot. “Hell doesn’t need to be so cliche,” he muttered. “Or does it?” A wicked expression took hold of his face. He looked down at the man on his knees, who once again stared despondently at the ground. He snapped his fingers.

They were both suddenly engulfed in flames. The man on his knees screamed in agony, the other laughed heartily. He snapped his fingers again. The flames disappeared. Both emerged unscathed. He watched as his poor hapless counterpart patted himself all over, panting, and mumbling, “Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod…”

He snapped his fingers. A black leather recliner chair appeared behind him, and he sat down. After a few more moments, his counterpart calmed down, and looked at him helplessly. “Why’d you do it?”

The other didn’t respond right away. He looked around him before finally saying, “What-do what?”

He sighed, and stared intently at this poor man. He was young. Couldn’t be much older than twenty. Why are they always so young? Has He no mercy?

“You put a loaded gun to your head and pulled the trigger, Vince. I’m here to understand why-and punish you.”

Vince looked at him in disbelief. “Was I not punished enough? Everyday I thought nothing more than about how to end my miserable life!”

He,” the counterpart said, pointing up, “had a purpose for you. He has a purpose for everyone.”

Vince nodded and folded his arms. “Does HeWhat was His plan for me then?”

The counterpart fidgeted nervously, the leather squeaking. “He doesn’t let us see your plans…”

“Because He doesn’t have any!” Vince yelled. The counterpart made no objection. “Everyday you thought nothing more than about ending your life. And one day you did. Why?”

“Everyday…” Vince began slowly, sitting back with his legs crossed. “I was alone. This deity you apparently follow so blindly had gifted me with so many things. Anxiety, so that I couldn’t socialize with others well. Awkwardness, so that if my anxiety didn’t scare people off, that would. And stupidity, so that others wouldn’t think much of me, even if they got passed the anxiety and awkwardness. Even if I wasn’t meant to change the world, I couldn’t, on a much smaller and basic scale, succeed at being human.”

The counterpart was silent, his eyes downcast. “So,” Vince said after a moment, “what was my purpose? Does God enjoy seeing His creations suffer? Or is suicide His way of doing a recall?”

“I can only tell you it’s a sin,” the counterpart said dejectedly. “I’m sorry…”

“Are we meant to be examples?”

“What?” the counterpart looked at him curiously.

“Examples. Are we created to show others what happens when we don’t worship Him? Was that my purpose?”

“You couldn’t be. There are plenty of others who don’t worship and live happy lives.”

“I just…I…don’t understand…” Vince looked at him with tears in his eyes. “What was the purpose of my misery?”

“I couldn’t tell you.”

After a long silence, Vince spoke. “Earlier you said I was worthless. How can you say that when you don’t even know what my purpose was?”

“Like I said earlier: My goal is to understand why you killed yourself, and punish you. What better way to punish you than with your own thoughts?”

“It’s terrible, isn’t it?”

“What is?”

“So many people go about life happy as could be. Most would never consider bringing themselves harm. They all love themselves and think they deserve nothing but the best in life. And then there are people like me who believe they deserve the worst. And those others, they’ll never understand it. They’ll never understand why we are so miserable and want ourselves to hurt and suffer. Absurd!”

The counterpart nodded. “It is a shame that they are so oblivious. I imagine it would be nice to take away their happiness and replace it with your misery.”

Another long silence came between them.

“If I told you,” the counterpart said, breaking the silence. “That this all wasn’t real, that you would get a second chance at life, what would you say?”

“Ha! That’s what I would say. But even if you were serious, I’d rather be here. I wouldn’t want to go back. This place isn’t hell to me, it’s paradise.”

“And how is that?”

“You’re the first person, or whatever you are, who ever sat down and really listened, and wanted to understand. You’ve given me more attention than anyone I’ve ever known.”

The counterpart gave him a sad look. He then snapped his fingers.

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