I jammed my thumb nail into the orange peal and sliced it away from the flesh, with the intense purpose of taking it off in one piece. It’s a great game with oranges, but with people, it’s another story. You’re not supposed to enjoy that game, but that doesn’t stop some people from trying.
The burning of emotions.
The rawness of grief.
The eruption of rage.
The sharpness of bitterness.
The destruction of hate.
You have to travel into that world to pull the dying out.
TJ offered a piece of the bitter orange to the tall shapely brunette that sat across the table.
Lisa’s eyes found the orange and sought valiantly to find TJ’s dark brown eyes.
TJ cupped Lisa’s chin. And, with a surprising tenderness, lifted her chin so that he could see here eyes. Her hazel eyes were dark and clouded, face flushed, and trembling. “Can you please tell me what happened?”
Lisa went even quieter, retreating deeper into the prison that she kept herself in.
After a time, TJ’s words floated in like a wisp of smoke curling into a sealed room. “The orange is bitter. It will suit you right now.”
Wordlessly, Lisa, took the orange slice and bit into it. Streams of juice shot around the table. TJ didn’t move as drops traveled down his cheeks. Then, blackness enveloped the table like a thick blanket.
Lisa’s words rasped out, barely able to make it to the dark walls of her torture. “My brother’s dead. You know those meds, the ones that idiot Doctor made him take 10 years ago. Well, guess what, that delinquent Doctor took him off the meds cold turkey. It killed him”.
“Lisa, you are not alone. I know the way out of the darkness, the prison that you are in.”
And the hulking form of the black dragon raged.
Some people truly enjoy pealing the flesh off and making the trapped people suffer.
And then there are those who have the keys to that darkness, and show the suffering that they are not trapped at all.
Lisa looked into TJ’s eyes. “How can you know the way out of here. There are no windows and no doors. And there is no light to guide your path.
TJ paused. “Let me tell you a story.”
There once was a man, a good and wise man, who looked around his small little world. He saw people with minor issues having bad days. He looked further and saw more and more pain. And looked still further and found a deep and abiding pain in everyone he met. The more he looked, the more pain he saw. And his heart burst in the pain that he felt for those that he loved. “Father, is there not something that we can do?”
The father spoke. The law has been in place from the very beginning. Everyone keeps breaking the law, over and over. They have to pay me for what they have done.
“Why do they keep breaking the law?”
“They know the law, but there are not strong enough to follow it. They are in pain, and suffer so. Still, they must pay the price and suffer the consequences.”
The man looked at his father, wondering if there was some way that he could help. “Can I not pay the price for them, father?”
“You must know the price that you are paying, to the last penny. Then, be willing to pay it.”
“I can see the debt, the burden is ferocious. Every essence of my body is screaming at the very thought of it. It will take everything that I have to pay it, to the point of death.”
The father looked down on his son. “Are you willing to pay that price?”
“I am father. I am willing to die for them.”
And he did. He paid the price to his father. And he died, willingly.
Once it was paid in full, after a couple of days, an odd thing happened. The son came back to the people that he loved, holding the keys to the darkness.
TJ smiled for the first time. “It is him that I follow. It is him that I study. He is my teacher. And, these are his keys. Follow me. I know the way out.”