Pronunciation Guide

Sunday, October 12, 2014

“Y” is for yes

This goes for any other type of consent as well, whether spoken, unstated, or simply undisputed.

Much of my story will deal with the concept of sowing and reaping. Closely connected to that is the subject of choices and compromise: small yesses (yes’s?) that at one time were seemingly insignificant. Several of my characters find themselves in situations they never planned on, never would have chosen. But it happened slowly, little yes by little yes. It’s a subtle silencing of one’s conscience, a split-second decision between two seemingly identical paths.

Jehur starts out wanting good things for good reasons. But deep brokenness and a thirst for approval steer him toward compromise. The first little “yes” was a pinprick in his heart, a moment where he felt a twinge of guilt. The second time didn’t affect him as much. By the time he’s the age he is in the story, his conscience is seared. He no longer feels guilt – not for killing people, not for doing whatever it takes to get ahead, not for following unspeakable orders, not for going to a brothel and doing awful things to an innocent girl there. It takes horror to awaken him to the horrible person he’s become, and when he finally sees the truth of himself, he is shattered. And determined to set things right.

Mas doesn’t compromise, but willfully chooses his path. He is driven by anger and brokenness, but he knows exactly what he’s becoming. He just doesn’t care. In his eyes, the end justifies the means, and vengeance, power, and brutality are all he seeks. Horror awakens him as well, breaks something in him, but his personality remains. His beliefs remain. He still wants the same things; his target has simply switched. But now, he also cares. With each decision he makes knowing it will hurt people, it cuts deeper and deeper into a thawing heart. And he lets it soften him.

Sorek teeters on the edge of compromise. He has removed himself from his past, but it lingers, threatening to overwhelm him if he ever lets his guard down. So he remains locked up tight, laughing to distract himself even as he feels the darkness creeping closer. He wants to be good. Yet in order to stand against evil, he feels his actions must often be evil. He hasn’t grasped the truth that hatred cannot drive out hatred, only love can. With each step he takes toward that darker path, each time he kills in the same brutal fashion as those he is killing, the more he questions who he really is. What he really is. How different he is from the people he’s fighting, or if he’s actually any different at all. And he’s just sacrificial enough to allow himself to be consumed by darkness, as long as it sets others free.

Rab also teeters on the edge. After years of protecting her sister from their abusive mother, the anger and pain has built up almost to a breaking point. In a moment of rage, she makes a decision. One that has been a long time coming, one she’s threatened and entertained in her head for years. She feels justified. In some ways, maybe she is. But in the aftermath, the weight slowly begins to crush her, to push her toward that cliff of no return.

Sometimes it’s not a gradual thing; sometimes it’s one moment that affects everything after it. The choice to drive drunk. The choice to talk to that person. The choice to turn left instead of right. The choice not to go there. The choice to withdraw from a loved one. The choice to lie. The choice to run. The choice to go home. The choice to pursue.

Yet even within those, it is often a culmination of the choices before it.

The point is, we never know where one “yes” may take us.

Ari learns this the hard way when she places trust in someone who seems trustworthy, but isn’t. Little compromises don’t throw her into hell, a choice borne of desperation and innocence does. It is a combination of a ruthless manipulator and a terrified young girl in need of help. It is the decision to stay instead of run, the decision to trust instead of question.

If she knew what awaited her there, she would have fled. But she didn’t realize. Didn’t know the gravity of that moment. Just like many of us don’t see the end result of our little yesses. Sometimes the path that veers to the edge of a cliff looks a lot like the path that leads to a fertile valley.

Be mindful of what you choose.
And know that it’s not too late to turn around.
As long as your heart is still beating and you are still breathing, there is hope. There is a chance.

It starts with one little “yes.”