Chapter 12:


My Three Dying Rules

Setting: At the psychologist / present

Doctor: Oh… that was unexpected.

Pandora: When I said the day would be my mother’s last day of happiness, I didn’t mean this…

Doctor: Well, life throws at you a lot of challenges and obstacles to overcome.

Pandora: When my grandma died, I was still a little child, not even realizing what was going on. But when grandpa passed away so unexpectedly, for the first time in my life, I was truly heartbroken. I didn’t know what to do. I just cried and cried and cried. The following day…

Setting: The village, grandpa’s house / 1st July 2022

Leon, Pandora, Mother and Father are sitting in grandpa’s living room. Silent. Her Mother has paper towels in front of her.

Mother: I think I am dehydrated. My eyes won’t shed any more tears. My heart has lost another piece. The first one with mother… and now with father… if anything happened to any of you…!!

Pandora: (Crying) Grandpa… why… why did you have to leave us without saying goodbye?!

Leon: (Holding tears) I would have never guessed that the last time I was here, it would be the last time I ever speak to him… I regret so much I didn’t come last year with you here…

Father: The doctor said the time of death was around 4am yesterday… a heart failure. If I didn’t have to turn back because of that stupid car, we would have seen him alive…!!

Mother: Don’t blame yourself. Nobody could have known, darling… The funeral will be in two days. We have to go buy some black clothes.

Pandora: (Crying) It hurts so much inside. Why does it hurt so much?! This is the worst pain I ever felt! Even the accident didn’t hurt so much! (Touching her chest out of pain)

Leon: Grandpa has finally met with grandma… I bet they are happy together, again.

Father: Don’t cry, Pandora… you will meet him again on the other side, I am sure. You’re still young but the time will unfortunately come for everybody.

Pandora: (inner monologue) The time for me will come soon. I want to meet grandpa as soon as possible… (Out loud) I wanna go for a walk… I need some fresh air…

Setting: At the psychologist / present

Pandora: That was the very first time I started to have any doubts about taking my life. When I saw my family so devastated, I thought to myself… should I really put them through such pain?

Doctor: But since you’re here now, I guess you snapped out of it.

Pandora: My heart was getting stabbed every time I looked at grandpa’s chair and didn’t find him sitting there… so I thought that maybe… just maybe… I shouldn’t kill myself.

Setting: The village, near a lake / 1st July 2022

Pandora walks on the shore of the lake. There is not a single soul there. This is the lake she used to go fishing to with her grandpa when she was little. Then his health got worse and so they couldn’t come so often. But after the health issues were stabilized, they promised to each other they would go again.

Pandora: (sobbing) What is this pain? Is this really how people feel when they lose a loved one forever? I feel so… powerless! I want to scream, I want to disappear!

Pandora has a flashback of her little 7 year old self and grandpa fishing in this lake. She was laughing whenever grandpa tried to grab fish from the bucket in order to release it back to the water. He could never catch the fish in his hands as it always slipped.

Pandora: I want to tell him so many things! How I love him! How I thank him for everything. How I didn’t consider him to be ‘just’ a grandpa, he was like a second father to me!!! Grandpaaaaaaaaa!!! (She screams while facing the lake.)

A male voice suddenly calls out to her from behind her.

The boy: Panda??

Pandora: Huh? (She turns around and behind her there is a younger boy standing.)

The boy: It is you, right? Panda. I would never mix up that angelic voice. Even if it was years since we’ve seen each other.

Pandora: There’s only one person who ever called me Panda. Aura…? It’s really you…!

Aura is a younger boy, now 15 years old. He has red hair and wears black sunglasses. He holds a white stick in his hands.

Aura: Yes. I am so glad I have finally found you, Panda. You came back… back home. I never stopped thinking about you…

Pandora: Aura!! (She hugs him tightly.) Aura… I can’t believe I met you here after so many years! (She is still sobbing a little.)

Aura takes off his sunglasses, his eyes are pure white color. Aura is blind.

Aura: I heard you... So your grandpa has passed away… (A tear appears in his left eye.) I am glad I can be with you right now when you are hurt. But I wish you didn’t go through that pain. You don’t deserve it.

Pandora bursts crying again and she hugs Aura even tighter. In a fantasy, the ashes from a previous pillar start whirling in a wind. Pandora is pushed away and she falls to the ground. She watches how the ashes are turned into a new statue and a new supporting pillar. The ashes make a bird-like scream. The new statue turns out to have a blindfold on her eyes and canvas in her hands.

Setting: At the psychologist / present

Doctor: Wait, so Aura…

Pandora: Exactly. I told you this is a story about another pillar. But it was not my grandpa’s pillar. That one had burned down. However, a brand new pillar has been born. Aura has resurfaced from my past and our bond was reborn just like a phoenix.

Doctor: So you originally didn’t plan on counting Aura…

Pandora: No. It was only after this meeting that I rediscovered my feelings for him. And he was very clear with his feelings never being buried. Also, Aura has restarted my desire to die. When I realized he still cared about me even after so many years apart, I knew that I simply needed to continue hurting my loved ones in order to make them stronger. Because they would never forget about the loss, just like Aura hasn’t forgotten about me. And I wanted to see my grandpa ‘on the other side’, if there is ‘the other side’.

Setting: The village, near a lake / 1st July 2022

Pandora and Aura sit next to each other on the shore, watching the lake and talking to each other. Aura does not have his look positioned properly as he cannot see where the lake actually is.

Pandora: I see, so you’ve been away from the village for many years and you came back to living here only last year. That is why I didn’t meet you when I visited my Grandpa… I am sorry I didn’t properly say goodbye… When I was 8, I was told we needed to move out all of a sudden. I didn’t know the reason at the time. And I didn’t know how to let you know… you must have been hurt.

Aura: (He shakes his head in denial) M-m. I knew you must have had your reasons. So I was just patiently waiting for this day…

Pandora: You are one of a kind, Aura…

Aura: Panda, do you remember how we met?

Pandora: Of course I do.

Aura: All the other kids in the village made fun of me because I was blind. I loved my art, I loved painting. So I painted while I knew very well I would never be able to see my own art. But the others did and they laughed at me. But then you came…

Pandora: And I told you not to worry about those jerks… because I thought your paintings were beautiful.

Aura: The others told me I was disgusting with those white eyes. And they feared me. They said I could shoot laser beams from my eyes so they didn’t want to talk to me, but you… you not only liked my art and not only did you not fear me… but you said you thought these eyes were beautiful.

Aura moves his head and looks at Pandora directly in her eyes, as if he was able to see them clearly.

Pandora: (blushes) And I still think so.

Aura: When I look at you, I feel like I can see. I feel like I am able to talk to you eye to eye like this, as if I didn’t have any handicap. You’re the only person in the world who made me ever feel like that.

Pandora: I told you that even if you can’t see what others can. You are able to see what others can’t. And that’s the good in the people. Because you are able to sense-, no. To see with your heart. With your aura.

Aura: You were the only reason I kept painting. And so… hm. Panda, I promised my father to go with him somewhere but I will be back home in two days. Will you come see me? I want to show you something.

Pandora: But that’s my grandpa’s funeral… Hmm, I don’t know if I can on that day…

Aura: That’s fine, a day after is fine with me too.

Pandora: Perfect! Then we have a deal.

Setting: At the psychologist / present

Pandora: The following day, I was considering all the options I had… I didn’t know what to do.

Doctor: What to do about… what?

Pandora: About hurting my mom. But I realized that this was the perfect opportunity… my grandpa was always helping me. And he helped me even in my selfish decision back then. Since mom was vulnerable because of his death, I chose to strike then and there.

Setting: The village, cemetery / 3rd July 2022

The day of a funeral. People are gathering at a cemetery to send off Grandpa properly. Pandora’s Mother was sitting on a chair, Leon and Father were caressing her shoulder from each side.

Mother: Wait, I don’t see Pandora anywhere. Where is Pandora?!

Father: I’m sure she is crying somewhere in the crowd so that you wouldn’t see her sobbing…

Leon: Yeah, she probably doesn’t want to worry you even more. There is still time for the final ceremony… (whispering to Father) Do you think mom will be okay? This is far more serious than during Grandma’s funeral.

Father: She’s strong, she will make it.

Setting: The village, Aura’s house / 3rd July 2022

Aura opens the door and to his surprise, Pandora has come see him in a black dress.

Pandora: Aura! So I’m here!

Aura: Panda? Is the funeral over?

Pandora: Uhm, yeah! I want you to show me that thing!

Aura: Sure, come inside.

Aura takes Pandora to his room. The room is full of finished and unfinished pieces of art. One painting is covered by a cloth.

Aura: There’s this national level art contest on 5th July in the town next to the village. I registered and decided to enter with this painting.

Pandora: Woah, that sounds exhilarating! What is the first prize?

Aura: Actually, something really big. Something other artists can only dream of. There is prize money, there is a possibility that an investor will want to work with you on your future paintings, making you basically able to earn money with your brush, and there is a special prize for this year only. The winning painting will be shown in the international gallery overseas!

Pandora: That sounds pretty neat! Show me that painting already!

Aura takes off the cloth and the painting is revealed. Pandora is amazed, unable to speak.

Aura: This one… I worked on it for a year. My Magnum Opus.

The painting shows a lake, sunset and an angel flying above the lake.

Aura: I called it: The Red Swan.

Pandora: Aura… it’s… it’s beautiful. I don’t understand how your imagination and fantasy can work like this when you have… your condition. This is just beyond talented.

Aura: Panda, would you please come with me to the contest? Nobody will be home on that day and so I would need somebody’s help…

Pandora: Absolutely! I would love to!!

Aura: Perfect! Thank you!

Pandora: So, shall we go for a walk now?

Setting: The village, cemetery / 3rd July 2022

Pandora and Aura are walking besides the cemetery. They go on a little hill from where they can see the whole cemetery. Pandora sees a large group of people still gathered around her grandfather’s grave.

Aura: Are we at the cemetery?

Pandora: Yeah, a little further away from it.

Aura: I see. So I guess you wanted to give another farewell to your grandpa…

Pandora: Something like that… Huh?

Pandora notices a man exiting the cemetery early. He notices Pandora and Aura in the distance as well. Their eyes meet and the man seems to make a certain facial expression.

Pandora: He smiled?

Aura: What’s going on?

Pandora: Nothing, don’t worry.

The man has now disappeared from her view. Pandora watches in silence how her grandpa’s funeral is going on. She sees a certain woman trying to hold the coffin as they bury it. A crying scream is heard. That must have been her Mother. Pandora’s eyes are full of tears.

Aura: Panda… so the funeral isn’t over yet. Why are you with me? Why don’t you go to your family and give a proper send off to your grandpa?

As they sit next to each other on the grass, Pandora holds his hand.

Pandora: This is for the best.

Pandora sheds tears. In a fantasy, two unknown pillars crack at the same time.