He spoke to her once more. “Sophia, tell me your heart’s desire.”
In the silence of that room, Sophia’s words came softly but clearly. “I don’t… want … to … die.”
The colonel slowly shut his eyes, savoring her words, and a smile formed on his lips. He opened his eyes and looked across at Laslo. “How interesting, Laslo, that Sophia should define living as not dying. You see, once reduced to this imperfect state, the desire to live is nothing more than a fear of dying.”
He bent over Sophia once more. His voice suddenly stern, he passed judgement on her. “You are no longer perfect, Sophia.”
Then shaking his head gently, his voice filled with regret, he said to her, “I am afraid I cannot let you live.”
– (Eating Fire and Drinking Water, Arlene J. Chai)
Am I a perfect person, then, Colonel Santiago Aure, for not being afraid to die? Or have I just fallen that far into myself? Tell me, Colonel, if the fearlessness I possess makes me a better person than them, if it is the evidence of an enlightened mind, if it is the proof of acceptance of truth everyone else denies; tell me I am different instead of traumatized.