Doctor Pleasance stared at Cassandra, blinking slowly. “Whatever you do,” he said, trying to play off his confusion and annoyance, “I’m sure it does feel like you kill the people you can’t help. You have a tremendous God complex; a need to assume responsibility. And that need to save people is matched only by your belief that you can. When you can’t, you internalize your failure as guilt, because as long as you have your guilt, you have a purpose. A goal.  Something to atone for.”

“And this has something to do, I guess, with my need to prove myself?” Her tone was biting. Dr. Pleasance had struck a nerve, and she wondered if he realized this was the most honest reaction he’d ever elicited from her.

“Indeed,” he continued. “You want to prove yourself with such conviction that you assume total responsibility. The sins of others become your sins; their burdens, your burdens. Your guilt drives you to keep trying. But I think that much has always been clear to you.”

“I just feel like my life is a sentence that ends with a semicolon,” she said. “There’s supposed to be more that comes after. Something new. Something to give meaning to the clause that came before. But for me it’s blank.”

“Sentences don’t end in semicolons, Cassandra. It is the period at the end of your life that gives meaning to it,” he smiled. It looked unnatural on him. “If you’ve arrived at a semicolon, it’s not that your sentence has ended, it’s that it has yet to be written. You are still finding your meaning.”

The above is an excerpt from my novel, “Prince of this World.”  All work published on this blog is the property of Stephan Maldonado, who owns the official copyright for “Prince of this World” from the Library of Congress. “Prince of this World”, © 2012 Stephan Maldonado. All rights reserved.



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