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Fiction Inspirational Friendship

White smoke — not from my old ashtray — from my hot coffee with low caffeine and creamy taste. After I finished reading Matthew Kelly's "Rediscover Jesus", I took a quick shower and change my shabby clothes. Tight faded blue jeans, oversized black shirt, and brown espadrille sandals. 

"I haven't cut my nails, they grow so fast..." I whispered to myself and heaved out a calm sigh, "Nevermind, I'm gonna be late."

I looked around my small living area to check if I forgot something, "I turned the lights off of my room as well as the fan. I got my phone and keys inside my bag... Yup, I think I got it."

I went out and walked towards my red sedan car but as I get closer to it, shoot! I forgot my wallet. How could I forget it, so I went back inside my house and looked for it impatiently.

"Where is it..."

I opened my bag and started digging through the things I fixed inside it until I found something I thought I left. "Oh, God, I want to blame the coffee." I let out a soft chuckle. 

I turned my phone on then I rushed outside when I read the time on my phone's screen, it was nearly nine and my work starts at ten o'clock.

Pull out of my driveway and start accelerating with the other vehicles on the road. Thirty minutes drive to my workplace and half of it is the time I have to get to my church. 

"I'll visit you later. Later. After work," I whispered when I stopped for a while in front of my church.

My work is done at past four and I arrived at my old church. It's quiet, obviously, and fewer people are visiting the church right now because it's Monday today.

"Monica?"  

A cracking voice calls me by my Christian name. "Sister Mary," I whispered and helped her walk properly.

"How are you?" she asked and forced a wide smile into her wrinkled face, "I am happy to see you."

"I am very happy as well, Sister."

"How is your work?"

"Busy and steady, I am happy to have the job."

"That's lovely to hear. How about your health."

"I am strong as a horse. How about you, Sister?"

"I am old but younger in God's grace." Sister Mary sighed before I let her sit on a long chair in front of a fountain.

"The court asked me to help another convict."

"Oh..." I whispered as my emotions suddenly fell like quick lightning.

"I don't want to reject but I need someone who can help me."

Sister Mary look at me in the eyes, hinting at me with her smile. "I am free on weekends, Sister, can I help you?"

Sister Mary giggled, "Thank you, Monica."

"I'm the one who should thank you, Sister Mary. I thought I lost it but it was just right here, inside me."

Sister held my hand and patted my head while nodding and giving me her best smile.

It was a long way to reach the weekend, work is busy but it keeps me productive with a little bit of stress. I stood in front of my mirror stand, naked while water is dripping down my hair.

"I need to cut my hair again, it grows so fast," I complained and wrapped the towel back to my body, "I'll go to the hair salon later."

I grabbed my hairdryer, plugged it in, let its warm air blow my mane until it's dry. Walked towards my closet, open it then grab my white long sleeves and long denim skirt. Wear my long sleeves, button it up then tuck it in my long denim skirt. Grab my brown side bag, hang it on my shoulder, walk towards my shoe rack and pick between sneakers or sandals.

"Sneakers," I whispered then I pulled the sneakers out of the shoe rack. I turned my phone on and read the time, "Quarter until nine."

Rushing towards my car and started to drive towards the church to pick up Sister Mary. It took me more than fifteen minutes, sighs.

"Sister Mary, I am sorry for being late," I said as I open the car door of my passenger seat for her.

"That's..." Sister Mary grunted as she gets on my car, "That's fine, Monica, the prison isn't that far."

I didn't ask questions, my mind is focused on the road until we reached our destination. I got out first and opened the car door for Sister Monica and helped her get down from my car.

We walked inside and asked the warden for Sister Mary's appointed visitation of a certain convict. I sat beside Sister Mary while a transparent panel is in front of us.

A man entered the room with his hands cuffed.

"Hello, Hiro. I am Sister Mary. I have been sending letters to you and I am so glad that I get to meet you."

He did not even take a glimpse of us, his head is lowered down towards the floor with his long hair, covering his whole, gloomy face.

"I brought Monica here, she's..." Sister Mary looked at me and I smiled at her.

"I am Monica, I was like you two months ago," I said and noticed that his eyes looked at me, which made me smile.

"My birth name is Kira and Monica is my Christian name," I sighed and looked at Sister Mary, patiently waiting for him to speak, "Sister Mary helped me during my --"

"Do you think you became a saint after changing your name?" His voice is dry but made an impact on me.

"Hiro, no one is a saint. We are all sinners. We are all the same in God's eyes, as long as you are willing to ---"

"Shut up with your good-talking."

"Hey!" I yelled and slammed my hand on top of the table, "You don't talk to Sister Mary like that!"

"Why? I thought we are all the same. Why not talk to her like everybody else?"

My eyes looked away when he stared at my eyes directly. "I remembered," I whispered, trying to contain the past, "I remembered myself in your state."

I heard him scoff but I continued. "The first year, I hoped that they won't charge me guilty of..." I looked at Sister Mary then back at him, "...murder."

He was silent as I keep talking. "But they did. The second year was filled with the paranoia of wanting to survive until the third year came, I waited and I waited for the day to come but it went from four to seven and it lasted eight years. I waited, still, for my end to come... every time, the warden comes to my room, I wished it was the day of my death sentence."

A long silence walked between us before he replied, "Liar."

I laughed mirthlessly and inhaled then exhaled. "I wish I was lying but no, I am not, Hiro."

"Why murder?"

I took in a deep breath before sharing my experiences, my backstory with him.

"I am an orphan since the moment I was delivered to the world and distanced myself from the other orphans. Until I left the orphanage at eighteen and tried to look for a decent job. Someone offered me a job as a waitress in a cheap bar. It was my first day but the owner did not tell me that all the waitresses there are prostitutes. I only knew it once I served the old man's order."

My emotions boiled inside my heart as I continue, "He touched me without my consent. I did not know what to do, so, I broke a bottle of wine and stabbed him three times... No... six times until I regain my senses."

He was silent. Then he stood up and tried to walk away. "I am not lying!"

"She is not lying, Hiro," Sister Mary whispered. "When I visited Monica, she looks just like you."

"But unlike her, my death sentence is next month. I don't have time to change my life."

"Sister Mary did not change my life. She helped me find something I had inside of me, all alone. I was the problem then I am the solution. If you don't believe in God, then believe in yourself. Until you find what was lost."

"How did you get out?"

"That bar was exposed. The owner was arrested as well as the other workers. Some were saved from their job as prostitutes. Some were killed. And one survived."

"You survived."

"Yeah."

"What did you found?"

"Reason to live."

Hiro walked towards the door with the warden guarding him. I looked at Sister Mary who tried to speak to him once again.

He stopped when the warden opened the door and turned his head, slowly towards me. "I hope you will visit me again and tell me what's your reason to continue living."

I smiled and nodded, "I will."

And I did. For a month, every weekend, I kept visiting him and talking to him. We laughed sometimes and we cried during our last conversation. 

"My reason? You..."

We weren't given the same fate but at some point, everyone will say to you that...

"Death is invetable and it's the only payment for all our sins."

April 15, 2021 05:10

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