“At last” said the stranger, his eyes followed JW intently as he gently laid his friends body down “you’ve caused me no end of trouble JW. I underestimated Todd, but no matter he’s dead now so it’s just you and me and your little friend that lives rent free in your head”, JW noticed a slight tremor in the strangers voice when he mentioned his other self.
“Who are you” shouted JW who could feel his anger rise, this thing had just killed his friend and yet seemed to brush it aside as though it was nothing. JW could feel his other self shrink from his anger, he felt guilty that he should be so scared, “please no, dear God don’t be frightened.” Chuckling, the stranger rubbed his hands together “This is easier than I thought” he said, “you’re so predictable, such anger. Where is your forgiveness now JW, where is the forgiveness that you gave to the others, huh? Or are you just another dishonest hypocrite?”. Laughing loudly he continued, “Your little friend has run off, you frightened him, thank you, it’s so much easier now for me to have what I want…. his soul”.
JW knew that he was being goaded by this thing.
“Would you like to know why you’re so important? I can spare you this since there is a good chance that you might soon be dead, like your friend” The stranger settled himself before continuing. “A little history first JW. Your God may have omitted to tell you that he’s not alone” Pausing the stranger chuckled at the reaction on JW’s face. “There is a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, the passing of the soul from one life to another until we finally achieve Moksha, or release. Your existence broke that cycle, the child that fled took a part of your soul with him which meant that it could not be passed to your next life, time has stood still ever since. The universe awaits this outcome.” he paused for a second and in that moment JW could see the hunger in his eyes. “For me, that part of your soul will allow me to return from whence I came so that I can defeat my brothers and sisters. You may have noticed that here on earth my powers are….. shall we say somewhat limited. That part of your soul is a gateway, which is why I must have it JW, whether you live or die is of no concern”.
JW thought back to when he was a child and when he’d learnt to build that room inside his mind. He’d crawl in there when bad things happened, lock the door and make himself as small and as quiet as possible. A part of him had never left that room, the child stayed ageless as the world around him got older, too afraid to return.
But JW knew from bitter experience that when we hold the truth about ourselves a secret we are essentially holding a grenade. Being authentic, direct and unapologetic completely defuses the bomb. But being truthful is the scariest thing. Yet it’s only when you reveal the truth do you discover you are not alone. If others never revealed theirs, we would live forever in isolation with our hands gripped around a grenade whose pin has long since been ripped away. JW knew that it is no way to live. Throw the grenade he thought to himself.
“You are right stranger, at times I’ve been as you say a dishonest hypocrite, but I’ve learnt many things through being honest with myself, some that have been very hard to face, until we are honest to ourselves we cannot be honest with others” JW could feel his other self beside him, lending his strength, “Could you say the same thing about yourself?”. This was not going the way that the stranger had thought it would, doubt flickered across his face.
JW continued, more sure of himself now and what he had to do.
“To not forgive another means to let what they have done affect who we are – this is a choice to our detriment, and to not forgive leads us towards hatred and revenge” The stranger could feel a weight settle upon him, the scales were shifting.
JW continued “By contrast, to ‘let go’ of the hurt others have caused us is to ‘let go’ of the grip they have gained, by their actions, over our mind and emotions. To ‘let it drop’ frees me to look at my own needs, to be loved, and to live freely with love for others.” JW could see fear in the strangers eyes, he could feel his other self become a part of him.
“For some people forgiveness is part of the healing process, we give back those things that never belonged to us, things that were never ours to begin with, but were forced upon us. It does not mean that we absolve them of their crimes, nor does it mean that what they did was OK. Forgiving them releases us from our burden, they hold no power over us any more. We are free to heal ourselves.”
JW felt calm now, he knew what his last act should be. “You asked me earlier ‘Where is your forgiveness now JW?’” Pausing, JW gathered himself and continued. “I cannot speak for the others that you have hurt in your long life nor for your brothers and sisters, but I forgive you”
A chorus of agreement resounded in his ears from the past, he had made the right choice.
It was nearly complete, his other self had become a part of him again after all these years of being separate. The stranger could feel the crushing weight of the pain from countless generations of men and women that had been given back to him, it was squeezing the very life from him.
JW and his other self were now one, at peace, it was the last thing that the stranger saw.
For JW it was indeed Moksha at the end of time.