Second Chance

February 5, 2008
By jerome Rhyne, Charlotte, NC

The day I died was the day I realized that my life was one big mistake. You see, I thought life was all about having the best clothes, cars, and cribs; and I had all of that. I had everything. I was the stuff. I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted, and no one would ask why I did it. Well, that’s how it used to be until my leg gave out in a basketball game, after I dunked on a player who was 7’2. Well, thousands of people witnessed the moment I went from being Demond Daisley, one of NBA’s finest to Demond Daisley, NBA’s has-been. Not only did my way of living change, but my whole attitude, my whole persona had changed. I had what many people would refer to as the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome, but that wasn’t the problem, the problem was that I liked it. I enjoyed being feared and hated by the common folk, well that’s what I called them.

The day I died, I fired two of my best housekeepers, both single mothers. I fired them for having a Spanish conversation in front of me and not translating. When I was done congratulating myself on my mediocre victory against rudeness, I thought I deserved some television and ice cream. Half way through “Leprechaun in Da Hood 2” and my third bowl of ice cream I was sleep, lost in some dream world. Later that night I felt a sore throat, and then I woke up in front of some pearly gates. Outside the gates was a man just sitting there, dressed in royal-like robes with a big book sitting on a pedestal, he looked at me and in a soft tranquil voice he uttered, “Name.”

I was shocked, I didn’t understand why he didn’t know me, I mean, I’m Demond Daisley, everyone knows me, I’m like Santi Clause or the Easta bunny, so I let him know what was up, “ Yo, I’m Demond Daisley don’t act like you don’t know who I am.”

He looked at me, and immediately his soft voice became a deep dark echo which repeated, “Name.”

Meekly I mumbled, “Demond Daisley,” almost immediately I saw a transparent clip of the game I injured my leg, my birth, me firing my housekeepers, my entire life as if it had been secretly caught on camera. Not knowing what was going on, I just watch everything, hoping it would all be explained later. However I didn’t have to wait long, the last clip was of me in my bed choking on the spoon I used to eat my ice cream. That’s when I thought about the sore throat that I had gotten.

After the clip I slapped myself repeatedly hoping to wake up. “common wake up, this is just some wild, crazy dream, I don’t understand why I can’t wake up, Oh God I can’t be dead WAKE UP!!!”

“Oh your not dreaming, you’re dead, guess I’ll never know you.”

“I can’t believe this, how could I’ve died and not know about it? Well… aren’t you goin to open the gates.”

“Well, let’s see the last thing you did was fire two poverty stricken mothers. Last week you cheated a girl scout out of her money, you’ve never put money in the collection plate at church… and the list continues on, looks like you weren‘t exactly Moses.”

“I can’t believe this.. I’m dead, and NOW I’m on the verge of goin to Hell.”

“No, you’re going to Hell, or the other side, well that’s what I call it, I just thought you should know why.”

“Look I don’t mean to be rude Paul but-”

“It’s Peter.”

“Whatever, anyway I really don’t need to know why I’m going to Hell, just send me there, and get it over with.”

“Fine, no need to be rude.” When Peter closed his book the white clouds around me bled into red. As I noticed the change in my surroundings I realized this is where I’m goin to be for the rest of eternity. Immediately I was in shackles with what appeared to be billions of people. I looked around and saw fire in the sky, the ground was some sort of molten rock. And everything was in some weird shade of red; it was horrible. I could see flames and rivers of blood everywhere I turned. I heard a combination of screams from all directions. The demons there were something straight out of, well, Hell. They seemed to be the bosses there, and they were demanding that we walk. The people down there looked horrible, they were all burned, and scarred, and many of them were missing limbs.

After a few miles of forced walking I fell, and in falling I was overwhelmed by a stampede of crusty, swollen, infected feet. After an hour of being stumped into the molten eroded ground I was able to slowly crawl to a rock to aid my wounds. It was so strange I felt like I was dying LITERALLY but I wasn’t dead. I didn‘t understand. It only took a few moments to realize the permanency of the situation; there was no more death, no more after life. In fact this was the after life. Almost immediately after my epiphany did I fall into tears, for what had to be 24 hours ago I thought I was Mr. Big Shot, Mr. GQ, now I realized that 24 hours ago I was as much as a nobody as I am now. I looked around and saw kings, rulers, rappers, murderers, and rapists, the only thing I did was constantly lie and cheat a few people out of their money, but I didn’t think that was worthy of hell. I guess that’s where it hit me that the only place that doesn’t discriminate is hell.

I don’t know what came over me at that moment but I felt the urge to scream out in repentance, “ I’M SORRY, I’M SORRY, PLEASE FORGIVE ME, I DIDN’T MEAN TO. I’M SO SORRY, I UNDERSTAND A SIN IS A SIN NO MATTER BIG NOR SMALL PLEASE SAVE ME FROM THIS HELL.”

“That don’t work.”

“Who said that?” I asked looking around scarcely

“I did.”

I turned around to see an old man appear behind the rock I was leaning on.

“I have been saying I’m sorry for 10,347 days and have yet to see a so called savior

“You keep count.”

“Nothin else to do but sit and wait to endure massive amounts of torturing, why not count.”

“You’re a liar I know the lord is coming all you need is faith.” I rebutted.

“ You can think whateva you want, but nothing will happen, I’ve been here so long I don’t even believe there is a god, and neither should you, it’s all one big scam.”

“Well, you believe what you want, and I believe what I know.” After uttering those words a crack appeared in the sky, followed by a crash of thunder. Within seconds I was floating into what appeared to be white lights, but through the thickness of the clouds I looked back at the old man, but he appeared to have changed. The old man I saw was one of the demons I had seen before only this one had horns and seemed to be a ruler in fact. He was bigger, and on his back was a cape. It burned a little to look at him, so I didn’t.

I turned away and as I flew into the lights I saw what appeared to be golden horses and a chariot circling me. The next thing I knew I was in my bed surrounded by a puddle of melted ice cream. “It was a dream, a weird dream.” Only when I got up I felt a pain in my leg, when I looked down I saw a bruise. It only occurred to me ten minutes later that I didn’t have a bruise on my leg when I went to sleep. I had to think, “was it a dream?, or was it a warning?” Was it God trying to tell me that whatever I’m doing in my life I should stop? Or was it some freak accident that turned out to be some weird coincidence. Whatever it was it convince me to turn my life around and to this day I give to charity monthly. I go to church every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and the only words that have come out of my mouth are honest. I finally discovered who my true friends are. I finally realized who I am, but that monster before will never show it’s face again. The lesson of this story is that life isn’t about the clothes, cars, and cribs, but it’s about more important things like friends, family, and religion. Whether or not I went to hell is not even something that crosses my mind anymore, but I do think that I did see something that truly exist that night, and for that I am blessed. And I realize I must have been crazy, thinking God will just let me pass through the gates no matter what I did. Now I know I’m not special because my name is Demond Daisley but because I was given a second chance, and I will always thank God for the second chance that he gave me.

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