Choices

The room was empty except for a table that nearly filled it. Its oval shape perfectly matched the curve of the stone walls. The top of the table was traced with lines, intersecting and diverging, apparently at random. Some glowed faintly with a green light, while many remained dark. All of the lines came together at one point towards one narrow end of the table. Every line past that point was dark.

He looked at the pattern and intuitively understood it. Focusing on a section revealed fine detail that was otherwise obscured. One place where a number of lines came together drew his attention, and he reached forward to touch it. As soon as his fingertips came in contact with the surface, he found himself back in the hospital room.

His father was in the bed, looking at him. The breaths were shallow, each one accompanied by a wince of pain.”Can you forgive me?”

Again he shook his head, muttering only “Goodbye, Dad” before leaving the room.

He pulled his hand off the table and looked for other places, other times.

“You are not allowed in here.” A blue robed figure stood across the table from him. Its face was hidden by a hood, and its voice was not unkind.

He stared at the figure, waiting to be ordered to leave, but no order came.

“No matter what choices you make, every path leads here, to this table.” The figure pointed to the area where all the lines met. “You are not allowed, yet you always come.”

“I… can fix things. I can go back.”

“You can go back and make changes. A different path will light up. But they all lead here. You are never satisfied with the result.”

“If only I hadn’t walked away…”

“Then you would regret something else.”

“No, I won’t. You’ll see.”

“I already have seen. So have you. This is not the first time you have come here.”

“I’ve been here before?” He couldn’t remember.

“Yes. And each time you go back. And each time you find your way here.”

“But my life… I can make better choices.”

“You can make different choices. But none make you happy.”

“So what can I do?”

“Leave here. Allow a path to light beyond this room. Let your past go.”

“No.”

“Of course. I will see you again, then.”

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