|A Lesson in Punctuation (standard:drama, 2950 words)|
|Author: P. Andrew Case||Added: Nov 22 2005||Views/Reads: 2010/1102||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A man serving a life sentence is diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and battles with the decision of whether or not to tell his family, who he has not spoken to in years.|
A Lesson in Punctuation “Look at the leaves,” said Reverend Timmons. “It's as if God reserved an entire reservoir of colors just for autumn.” Allen followed the reverend's gaze through the high, chain-linked fence to the towering oak tree. For the past fifteen years, it had provided him with a shady spot to read, while the other inmates took part in more athletic endeavors. “They're dying, you know,” said Allen. “It'll be bare in a month.” “All the more reason to enjoy them now.” “I just think it's disrespectful to marvel in its death. Maybe they're changing colors as one last desperate cry for help. Maybe they're just trying to get our attention.” Allen subconsciously rolled his eyes at the absurdity of his own claim. Nonetheless, the weekly visits from the Reverend Timmons had become more about extending the arguments than winning them. “Maybe,” Timmons said with a warm smile. “But maybe we should try looking at it as a stage between life, a midpoint between summer's life and spring's rebirth.” “Or maybe we should just stop taking spring for granted,” said Allen, knowing this conversation was well overdue for a spiritual reference to parallel his situation with the foliage. Reverend Timmons was good with that. This last statement was more or less a nod of approval for him to do so. “Well Brother Barnes” “Allen.” He hadn't let Reverend Timmons get away with addressing him with that title since the last time he walked out of his small, Pentecostal church fifteen years ago. “Well Allen,” he continued, “you know, as well as anyone, that we only have so much time before we reach that midpoint. It's not about extending that time, but using it to prepare yourself for the answer to the question of whether or not spring will come.” “Well what if the answer is that you just wasted your entire life preparing, just so you could end up as fertilizer, just like everyone else?” “I'd rather waste a life than an eternity.” God damnit. Allen knew he had backed himself into a corner. “Well, that's a good point, but it's too logical. If I were to accept Christ based on that, would He accept me?” “If your logic was accompanied by faith.” “...Which it isn't,” Allen said with a sense of pride knowing he had gotten out of the trap he had walked into. “I just don't see how I could possibly follow a God whose master plan includes all of this.” “Allen, God gives us choices. You made the choice to drink that night, and it was your hands on the steering wheel. People always ask why bad things happen to good people. Maybe it's because people's belief in God is directly correlated to whether or not there's something to blame Him for.” “That's complete bullshit. If you're telling me that a man, his wife, and two children had to die on their vacation just so I could have some last second spiritual awakening, then that alone is reason for me to avoid Heaven. I couldn't bring myself to worship someone like that for an eternity.” Allen knew he had crossed the line by swearing in front of the minister, but he also knew he finally had a point. “Well if that's not what you're looking for, why do I visit you every week?” “No one else will.” Click here to read the rest of this story (296 more lines)
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