Have you ever heard of the scenario where two people are hanging off a ledge, and you can only save one person and you have to decide who to save? Well Molly Lovel wondered how she had come to be in that very situation, in real life.
One second, she, her boyfriend Hayden, and her mother, had been climbing a mountain, but the next second Hayden and her mother were sliding down. They barely managed to hang on before they fell over the edge and died.
Molly froze, unsure of what to do. Then her brain woke up and she rushed over to them. She tried to grab both of them at the same time, but she could not. “I can’t get both of you at the same time.”
Hayden tried to pull himself up, but the angle did not allow him to. “I can’t pull myself up. Pull your mother up and then you can help me.”
Her mother shook her head. Rocks tumbled down and showered them both in dirt and dust. “No, help Hayden up. Then, you both can help me. But be quick, I don’t know how long we can hold.”
Molly realized then that she had a choice. Somehow, she knew that she would only have enough time to save one of them, but who should she save. On one hand, she could save her boyfriend, but lose her mother, but if she saved her mother, she would lose her boyfriend.
What should she do? What should she do? There was no right answer. It was a lose-lose situation. Save one and lose the other, save the other and lose the one.
Plus, if she saved her boyfriend, it would seem as if she did not care about her mother. The mother who birthed her. Who loved her and dealt with all her moods. But if she saved her mother, her boyfriend would die thinking she did not love him or care for him enough to save him.
Her mother looked at her. “Quickly, daughter. Save Hayden. I know you both plan to marry each other and you have a long life together before you. I have lived with you and seen you thrive these past nineteen years. You deserve to be together.”
She nodded and started to reach for Hayden, but then he too spoke. “No, Molly, save your mother. I realize now that you can only save one person and I love you. But I know how much it will hurt you if you don’t save your mother. We can never repay all the things are mothers have done, but you can save her now.”
She pulled her hand back and looked between them both. Why did they have to make it so complicated? To make her decision, she tried to think what her live would be like without each of them.
Without Hayden, she imagined herself crying herself to sleep. Moping about him being gone. Wishing she had saved him and resenting her mother because she saved her instead.
But without her mother, she imagined herself feeling guilty that she did not save her mother. She imagined that the guilt would create a rift in their relationship. Hayden would feel guilty that she saved him instead or her mother, and she would feel guilty that she had chosen her boyfriend over her mother.
“I can’t hang on much longer,” her mother said through clenched teeth. Molly peered over and could see that her mother was straining to hold on. Hayden was faring a bit better, but he was straining too. She didn’t have much time, but her decision wasn’t even close to being made. How could she save one and not the other?
“I don’t know what to do,” she whispered. Part of her wanted to run, to avoid having to make the decision, but she could not let them both die. She peered over the edge, perhaps they could still survive a fall. But no, it was a sheer drop with craggy rocks below that would not allow a safe landing.
Hayden looked up at her, face sweating and red. “Listen to me, you have to save your mother. She is weaker than I am. And once you save her, you might have enough time to save me too.”
She nodded and walked over to her mother, but before she could reach her, her mother’s hand slipped and her grip loosened. Then she fell. A moment later, Hayden fell too.
“Nooooo!” Molly awoke with a start. Her face was sweating and her hair was sticking to her face. She looked around, she was in her bed, not on a mountain. She took a deep breath. But what if it hadn’t been a dream. She jumped out of bed and rushed out of her room, startling her mother. Her well and alive mother.
Molly released the breath she had been holding and hugged her mother.
“Oh, what is this for?” Her mother put her arms around her daughter.
‘I’m just glad you’re alive.” Then she remembered. Hayden. She squeezed her mother and then rushed back to her room to grab her phone. She called Hayden and waited for him to answer.
“Hello,” his voice was sleepy and it was clear that he had just woken up. “Molly, is that you?”
She nodded, but them realized that he could not see her. “Yes.”
She heard rustling. “Is something wrong? Is it your mother? Do you need me to come to your house?”
“No.” Her throat clogged with tears. She was so grateful that it had been nothing more than a dream. A horrible, terrible dream. No one should have to choose between their boyfriend and mother.
“What do you need then, Molly? Are you ok? Are you still there? You are starting to scare me.”
She swallowed. “No, I am alright. I just had a horrible dream.”
“You want to tell me about it?”
“No, I, just please promise me that we will never climb a mountain.”
There was a moment of silence. “Interesting request, but for you, I promise to never climb a mountain.”