She knew her father was different to other fathers. He was far more clever, and some say he had magic in his soul.
And she was not like other little girls, she knew that too. How could she be, with a father like him?
He taught her many things – poetry, philosophy, the mysteries of the universe. He told her, over and over, the only thing that mattered was choice.
“But most choice is blind,” he would say, “which is the tragedy of singular existence.”
“What do you mean father?” she would ask.
‘If we could all be one,” he said, “we would know everything, and there would be no more need for choice. It is in the not knowing we risk all, every day.”
For many years this was but a wordplay between them. Se knew what he meant, on some level. When she had a crush on a boy at school she yearned to know how he felt, if such feelings could be rerutned. But she could not know. Not without an action. Not without blind choice.
And again, when she attempted exams to further her studies, sometimes she knew the answers and sometimes it was just a guess. So choice, as ever, meant the difference between a high mark or low, a pass or fail.
On her eighteenth birthday her father took her to a house. She had never been there before but it seems he owned it, but had not told her or her mother of the fact. This was not surprising, for he was full of secrets. But she did not know why he brought her there that day, or why he was so grave at a time that should be celebrated.
“When I was your age,” he told her,”my father took me to this house, and his father before that and on and on. Come up these stairs dear child and meet your fate, your choice.”
At the top of the stairs was a hallway with two doors, innocent and white, both closed.
“Everything,” he said, with a voice like a lament, “everything rides on which door you choose. One will take you to the future you dreamed and another to something else entirely. You will not know, not at first, which fate you have chosen, even if it seems all at once dark or light across the threshold, but over your life you will come to know, and at its end, you will know even more.”
“And you chose a door father?” she asked. “Which choice was yours?”
“I chose with dumb luck and had you, my lovely child, but now as I stand at the door, my heart breaking at what you must now do, I do not know if I chose the best or worst of worlds for myself, for all that I ever could have desired is simply this, that you choose your dream and not your nightmare.”
She regarded the doors for a moment, weighing the balances of both her fate and that of her beloved father. One door may open to a heaven, and the other to a hell. But which was which? There was simply no way to tell.
She walked slowly, choosing the door to the right, and hesitated a moment before opening it.
All she saw was the darkness, swirling around her. The unknown, the untested, the unborn.
But her heart broke just a bit when she heard her father scream.
And yet, because she had to, she walked through the door and into the darkened room.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2016