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The Last Words
I can't seem to shake the great feeling of claustrophobia consuming me like a large thundercloud. My wrists and ankles are now immobile due to the leather straps holding them back. My head becomes encompassed by a metal helmet, precisely placed by six men in tuxedos, smirking at my misfortune. I giggle slightly as I invent a nickname for them: the Black Tie Butchers. How nice it is for them to have dressed up for the occasion. After all, I probably wouldn't be getting a real funeral anyway. Nearly everyone I love has given up on me. I made one regrettable mistake, and now I'm paying the ultimate price.
"Felix Muser," a Butcher reads, "convicted of first-degree murder back in 1974." Each one of them look up at me. Trying not to display my apprehension, I relax the muscles throughout my body, an action complete with a superficial grin. As I do so, the wooden chair slightly creaks, the infinitesimal sound filling the small, silent room. Seemingly accepting my feigned confidence, the leading Butcher carefully places a blindfold to cover my eyes. I hear a herd of footsteps exiting the room before the door slams shut. At this moment, my heart begins racing as if it desires to jump out of my chest. A bead of sweat drips down the front of my forehead, then stops as it is absorbed into the dark blindfold.
I really don't want my life to end today. I still have relationships to mend and people to apologize to. My mind filters through all of my possibilities. My brainstorming eventually results in the idea of busting through the leather straps confining my entire body. I realize it's unlikely. However, not to sound morbid, but my superior strength was what got me into this situation; killing another human being isn't an easy job. I decide my escape route. Each tick of the clock's hands grows louder, indicating that I don't have much time to take action. The warden's countdown rings in my ears. "Five..." I search for all of the power stored inside me. "Four..." I quickly review my action plan. "Three..." I'm reaching for my inner strength. "Two..." In this second, using all the force I contain, I break through my constraints. My heart beats faster and louder while my mind runs blank. Without any premeditation, I remove my blindfold and sprint out of the execution chamber.
Surrounded by panicked guards, I make my way through the prison, wrangling with officers as I go. Enduring the blows of batons and jolts of tasers, I finally arrive at the main entrance doors and open them to be reminded of why Georgia has always been my favorite place to live.
The first taste of fresh air is oh so sweet. Being locked up in a prison cell for nine years is nine years too long. I gaze at the blue sky filled with white clouds and birds chirping sing-songy tunes. My sense of freedom diminishes when the warden's shouting catches in my ear: "Get back here, you imbecile!" My feet take off running just as they had been before. Without any inkling of where I am going, I sprint across streets, dodging halting cars as they honk out of frustration. I turn corners and knock down trash cans and bicycles behind me, hoping to create obstacles for the warden to fall behind and lose any trace of me.
Soon enough, I sense she has given up on her impossible chase; I have created too difficult a maze for her to make her way through. This gives me time to organize my thoughts and ascertain what I need to do next. It isn't long before I decide that I must search for forgiveness above all things. I then set out for my mission of absolution.
After receiving strange stares and horrified looks, I realize that I am still dressed in my "jail cell best" and quickly search for new, clean clothes. Walking past an old thrift store, I catch sight of newly donated and untagged clothing. I hastily dig through the hefty pile before slipping on a pair of Levi's and a white Rolling Stones t-shirt. My eyes swing to a pair of Adidas sneakers, and I put them on feeling extremely trendy and stylish, but after being in prison for almost a decade, it's hard to grasp what a "trend" even is.
Now having replaced my orange jumpsuit for more casual apparel, I begin making my way to the house of the woman I hurt the most, my mother. She has always worried about me. Like every good mother does, she would make sure I was on top of everything, acing all of my classes and graduating with everyone else in my grade. When I dropped out of high school, she became dreadfully upset, just wanting what's best for her only child. I became rebellious, sneaking out of the house to attend parties while I was grounded for having done just that the previous week. However, throughout all of my misbehavior and disappointing actions, my mother still supported me. She made it a daily routine to tell me she loved me when I woke up every morning, before I went to bed every night, and just about every time in-between. When she heard that I had been arrested, she wept. When she found out that I was being put on trial for first-degree murder, her heart shattered into millions of pieces. All of the important lessons and good morals she had worked hard to teach me had been thrown away. She began to think she had failed as a mother, but in reality, I had failed as a son. That very statement is what I am on my way to explain to her. I don't want to die before telling her that I am sorry for my actions, for making her think there was more she could have done to raise me to be a better man, and that I love her.
I can barely remember her address, as it has been quite some time since I lived in that house. As I recall the numbers and street name, I scribble them onto my hand with a black pen I find lying on the ground: 81201 S Spark St. Glancing up at the dark green street signs hanging on the traffic poles, I locate where exactly I am and which direction I need to start walking in. I rejoice a little bit inside when I realize that I don't have much distance left to travel. My mother's house is only a few blocks away, and soon enough I will have the chance to tell her what I haven't quite had the opportunity to before, the words that I feel obligated to speak before our relationship can be fully resolved. After speaking these last words, only then will I feel at peace.
I grin with excitement as I imagine what will happen when I first see her again. I plan to shower her with kisses and hug her so tightly that neither one of us can breathe. I just need to repay the debt that I carry for not returning the vast love she has showed me my entire life.
I hike up the long street leading to my old home. For a second, my feet stop as I ponder whether she even cares for me anymore. What if she is too angry to want to see me? Or what if she no longer recognizes me as her son? I shake these thoughts from my head, knowing that I must confess my thoughts to her, no matter what might serve as an obstacle.
Now standing in her driveway, my palms begin to sweat and my knees tremble as I grow more and more nervous. I take a deep breath before ringing the doorbell. The front door squeaks open to reveal a fragile old lady with glossy brown eyes: my mother. She gasps. "Felix, my sweet boy! How are you, honey?" My premeditated plan to pamper her with hugs and kisses goes awry, and instead, I stand in front of her and cry. Here I am, after all these years, being comforted by the woman that I took for granted my whole life. "Well come inside, my dear son!"
As I take a step inside, I am greeted by the recognizably sweet aroma of potpourri that I used to consider as more of an odor as a child. Flashes of past arguments and violent disagreements that occurred here remind me of my purpose for returning home.
"Ma, I have something I need to say to you."
"Well, let's take a seat right here, my boy. You don't know how long I have waited to utter those words: my boy. I have spent every minute of every day for the last decade praying to our God up above that you would come back to see me again."
I prepare to confess my feelings of regret and sorrow that I feel for my mother. I open my mouth to speak when my thoughts interrupt me. Her words "our God" strike me. My whole life I have chosen not to believe in a god. I figured that God couldn't exist due to the struggles I had faced and what my life had become. Now, sitting here finally getting the incredible chance to apologize to my mother, I realize there is a God.
"There is one," I think to myself. "There is one..."
I then hear the loud, mechanical noise of a lever being pulled and set in place. And with that, a great agonizing pain is sent throughout my entire body. Any movement of my muscles becomes involuntary. My chest violently surges upward and slams back against the wooden surface. Another powerful jolt and I'm left seeing nothing but blackness. I hear nothing but silence. And my last words to my mother have been left unsaid.