Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner
Almost a year ago, I was in a car accident. However, it wasn't until very recently that I realized my accident had left me with a very peculiar capability.
I had been T-boned by a drunk driver, sending me off the road and headfirst into a tree. Both my airbag and seat belt failed, launching me through the windshield a good 10-15 feet from my car.
Apparently, I died, but only for a little bit.
From what I was told, my heart stopped beating in the ambulance, but I was resuscitated within a matter of minutes.
Still. Dead is dead, and that's what I was.
Once I was on the road to recovery, it was a quick one. Like I said, it was less than a year ago, and I'm already up to par again, and have been for a few months. I was fortunate to have a very supportive family. My father, mother, and two siblings were with me every step of the way, and for that, I will always be grateful.
It was just two days ago that I realized what I was capable of. I was at the optometrist for a general exam. He checked the pressure of my eyes, which is always a weird sensation. I really hate the feeling of that machine blowing air into my eyeball, and it took several tries to get a proper reading due to what I considered to be a very natural reaction of flinching, much to the annoyance of the optometrist.
Then came the reading of the chart. No real troubles there. I've never had a problem with my vision, but a yearly exam never hurt anything.
But then came the point in the exam where the doctor swung his chair around, directly in front of me, and had me close my right eye, so that I could follow his pen with my left. Much like before, no real problems. At least not until we switched to the next eye. I closed my left eye, and looked at him with my right.
You can imagine my shock when I saw my doctor right in front of me, and another person behind him who hadn't been there before. A person who looked just like my optometrist in every way, except for the fact that he was naked, and happened to be going to town on a woman propped up on the counter of the examination room. A woman who looked a lot like the receptionist that had checked me in.
"What the fuck?!" I yelled as I opened my other eyelid. The intrusive couple instantly vanished before me, and it was once again just the (fully clothed) optometrist and I.
"Something the matter?" He asked with the most startled look on his face.
I didn't know what to say. I like to think I'm a pretty fast thinker, and I'm pretty sure admitting to this guy that I just saw an exact replica of him banging the receptionist in the same room as us might come off a bit, I don't know, crazy?
"Yeah, I'm fine. I think. I was in a pretty traumatic car accident a while back, I guess I'm still sorta processing things, and I have my moments where I'm not entirely, you know, all there, if that makes any sense." It was a lie, but a decent one. Like I said, I'm a relatively fast thinker.
But of course, when we tried to resume the examination, there they were again, just going at it. There was no doubt it was the optometrist and the receptionist. Clearly, I was the only one seeing it, but I didn't really feel like dropping any more hints to my optometrist that I might be on the brink of losing my fucking mind, so I decided to grin and bear it, ignoring as best as I could.
As we were wrapping up the exam, the optometrist began writing me up my prescription for my lenses, and I noticed the wedding band around his finger.
"So, your wife is your receptionist? Does that get weird? I feel like that would get pretty weird."
"Uh, n-n-no, that's not my wife. M-my wife is an attorney. Why would you think that?" he stammered.
"Oh. Sorry. I guess I just assumed. My bad." I could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks in embarrassment.
The rest of the day I spent experimenting with my newfound ability on strangers. It didn't take me long to realize I was seeing the last sin committed by someone, on the condition that my left eye was closed and I was looking with my right. This was confirmed pretty quickly when I saw the guy in front of me at Starbucks pull a wallet out of the purse of the lady in front of him. I closed my left eye and watched an exact replication of the event with my right, combined with the old woman screaming out the word "nigger" at the top of her lungs. Double whammy.
This was just one example of many as I experimented with my new ability. Not everything was as cut and dry as the thief, but it was still pretty obvious: I was seeing the last sin committed by these people. It was scary but awesome.
You'd be amazed at the fucked up shit people do.
That was just two days ago. I've seen a lot of shit since then.
Tonight, I went over to my parents for dinner. It's become a weekly affair. I'm 20 and have been living with a roommate since around the time I turned 18, but I still make it a point to visit my parents and two younger sisters every week for family dinner.
There was a lot of internal debate going on as I sat at the dinner table. With strangers, it wasn't really a big deal, but with family? That's a whole new ballgame.
Still. I couldn't help but wonder. I feel like I know my family pretty well, especially after all the help I got from them after the accident. I feel like their sins would be laughable. Nobody is perfect, my family included, but that doesn't mean the imperfections aren't minor ones.
After a lot of thinking, I finally decided to go for it. As we sat at the dinner table, my sisters going on and on about school, I closed my left eye.
I looked at my mother. Behind her, I saw her standing, leaning against the wall with a phone in her hand.
"Oh, that Lauren. She's such a slut. She'll shack up with any single man in the neighborhood. Maybe the married ones too!"
Gossip. Real classy, mom.
I looked over at my sister, Bethanie. She was 12 years old. She was slowly becoming a woman, but she was such a sweetheart and I know she was doing all that she could to hold on to that youthful innocence. I didn't expect much from her and got exactly what I expected.
I watched as behind my youngest sister, another version of herself sat away from a group of younger girls. She silently brooded as the other group of girls discussed getting their very first bras.
Envy. Poor Bethany. I guess she wants to be a grown-up more than I thought. That's good to keep in mind when it comes to comforting her.
From there, I looked at my other sister, Jenny. Jenny was 16 years old, and she was beautiful. She was well on her way to becoming her own woman, and I was proud of the woman she was becoming. Full of class, no rebel streak, exactly how you would want your younger sister to be.
What I got was something I could never have prepared for.
Behind her, I saw her partially clothed on her bed. Behind her, a man wearing a black ski mask held a knife to her throat and did his best to maintain Jenny's thrashing movements as she tried to escape.
"God fucking dammit! Just let me go! Please! God dammit just let me go!" she screamed.
It was no use. I watched as that man did unspeakable things to my sister, leaving her on the ground, crying and cursing the god that let this happen to her.
That can't be right, I thought to myself, Sure she used the lord's name in vain, but who could blame her? How am I ever going to be able to look at her the same again? Do I even talk to her about it? How could I even bring that up? How can you go through something like that and walk out the other side a normal girl?
I wanted to cry. I loved my sister. She was such a wonderful young woman, but I couldn't break down now. There's no telling just how crazy they would think I am. I did my best to stifle my rage and my sadness, and I couldn't look at her anymore, so I turned my one-eyed gaze to my father.
You can imagine how I felt when all I saw was that exact same scene being played out again.