Roundtrip to Hell and Back – by Carlos Ferreira
Here I am, sitting at the porch of my father’s home, embraced by this ethereal coldness and staring at the horizon in middle of nowhere at Rovaniemi in Lapland, Finland. My mind keeps searching for an acceptance that may never come. But how can this be? My life is ruined, reduced to ashes. I had everything; I was at the top of the world a year ago. How can I, the successful Andrew Anderson, be left with nothing? I’m 37 now and I don’t know how to get back on track. I gave 10 years to that company and they brushed me off like it meant nothing. I still can’t believe it…I’ve made millions in my career, helped numerous companies to prosper. I’ve worked hard to get where I was. But it seems that I lost sight of my path. I treated people like they were dispensable items. The day it all came crashing down, no one stood by my side. That struck me like a lightning. How did I become that person? That wasn’t me, that wasn’t my purpose in life. I only wanted to excel in what I could with my skills, education and ideas to help others along the way. Improve in what was possible. When I was growing up, I saw many people dealing with unemployment. I wanted to change that, create more opportunities. But I lost myself. The more I gained, the more I wanted. I lost myself in unnecessary luxuries. Now that I think of it, it doesn’t surprise me that my ex-wife Sarah left me. Yes, I was married for four years in my early twenties. But she must have seen this change in me and left before it infected her. Oh, how I miss her…It can’t be helped now.
I went through hell when this unfortunate turn in my life happened. I went down a hole where the only way to cope was to numb my senses with all I could. My company was one of the best in technological advancements and one that looked promising, was nanotechnology. But one wrong choice I made, threw me to a downward spiral. Our company, Weltall Industries, was conducting an experiment with nanomachines where the goal was to suppress any kind of cancer or tumor so that the patient could extend his life. It looked promising and the trial with animals that had terminal diseases was positive. So, we decided to experiment in humans. We only chose people who had a terminal disease, no family and only had a month or two to live. We found 5 subjects who were willingly to participate and made them sign a contract that they were aware it was an initial experiment and it could go wrong. They all accepted our terms since they hadn’t much time to live. All was set and the board of our company had a meeting to decide if it was worth it or not. I did my best to convince them that this would be a huge breakthrough and that the company name would soar to higher levels of recognition. But something was wrong. I should have noticed. I was only driven by the profit it would make if we were successful. I never thought about their safety or the impact it would have in our society. But at that time I was already corrupted. I used the best arguments to convince them and I got their approval. After all was prepared and legally signed, I gave the green light to move forward. And that’s when things took a turn for the worse. I should have waited a little longer. The experiment was a major failure. The patients didn’t last a day. Instead of suppressing their terminal diseases, the nanomachines did exactly the opposite. After a hard investigation, it was unclear why. A possibility given was that the nanomachines reacted badly to the human physiognomy. They still aren’t prepared to interact with our body. I was blind with profit, I never saw this coming. Somehow, this failed experiment got out to the press and the media were like hounds on Weltall. But they got everything under control. Weltall became very powerful as it grew and managed the situation. But it had collateral damage. Since I was the one who convinced them to pursue this, I was crucified. They discarded me like it was nothing. The ten years I gave to the company were devoid of meaning. I was told that I brought shame and insecurity to the name of the company. I fought back with all I had but it was in vain. Their decision was final and I was fired without any right to benefits. They only gave me some monetary amount they saw fit. That was the beginning of my ruin. That weight crushed me and I couldn’t cope with it. My so called “friends” grew distant and only left messages of “support”. I felt abandoned and it was the worst feeling ever. Soon after all of this, I became a cliché. I started to drink heavily, tried different kind of drugs to disconnect myself from reality. I went down a dark path and I didn’t care as long I was numbed. I went off the grid for months. No one knew where I was and I didn’t care at all. But this wasn’t working for me either. It was destroying me and I had to leave Seattle. I decided to go to my father’s; I needed to be with someone familiar. For a year, I lived a hell created by me and that wasn’t where I wanted to be.
I just had to leave this behind. And if it wasn’t for Sarah, I could’ve been dead. She somehow found me in Seattle and wanted to check on me because she knew what happened. I told her everything and she decided to go to Finland with me just to see that I got there safe. When we arrived at Lapland, we rented a car to get my father’s house. But my alcohol addiction didn’t stay at Seattle; it came with me. I couldn’t help myself and escaped Sarah for a few hours to stop at the closest bar to feed my addiction. Feeling guilty, I called her to pick me up because it was enough. She was taking a while so I decided to go outside and wait for her. But I was so drunk I could barely stand. Idiot as I am I tried to walk this off in order to keep my blood pumping and “burn the fuel”. I don’t know where I went but after a few minutes, I threw up and blacked out next to my vomit. I don’t know how she found me but that was a blessing. My father told me that she drove to his home and they both took care of me for about 3 days. I didn’t remember anything of this; I was really unconscious. As I looked better and was regaining conscience, I overheard them talking. ”Tuomas, I need to be going now but you really need to take care of him. He’s in a dark place and I don’t know how long he will hold up. You’re the only one who can help him at this point.” – Sarah said. And now, here I am, inhaling and exhaling the cold yet soothing air from Finland. I missed being here; everything is so different and calm. It’s a nice place to heal and begin anew.
– Yes father?
– We need to talk. – His voice had a deep tone.
– I know father. I’m sorry that I troubled you with my miserable behavior. You taught me better.
– Don’t worry about that. You’re my son and you’ll always welcome here.
– Thank you. – That relieved me a little.
– What brings you here? You were vague when you phoned me last week and said that you’re coming.
– I just needed to see you and get away from all that happened to me. There was nothing left there for me anymore. I..I’m broken father, torn apart. I lost sight of who I was, the man you taught me to be. I became someone you wouldn’t recognize. – Tears streams down my face.
– Yes, I’ve heard it from Sarah. She was really worried about you. In the days you were unconscious, we talked for a while and she explained to me everything. Don’t take this the wrong way but I’m glad I never met that side of you.
– I..I..That weighs heavily on me father.
– I imagine it so. I only regret it took a tragedy to make you realize what happened to you. I guess that sometimes with triumph comes loss.
– I think you’re right. It shouldn’t have come to this. But that power is so alluring, so seductive; it’s hard to fight it at all. And I wasn’t strong enough to reject it.
– Not everyone can be strong all the time. You falter, it happens son. It’s only human. – Hearing this from him was somehow comforting.
– I feel so ashamed…I became this addict, broken person that I don’t recognize. I feel like a ghost in a shell. And I still can’t believe that Sarah helped me. We’ve grown distant and still she was there for me. I have to apologize and thank her.
– I agree with that. She was really worried about you. And I’ve seen something in her eyes, in all of her that she still has feelings for you Andrew. – This words surprised me.
– Do you think so father? After she’s seen the worst of me?
– Yes my dear boy. But you can’t face her the way you are right now. You’ll need to treat yourself and cleanse your mind, body and soul. It won’t be easy, I must tell you. But it will be worth it. Are you willing to make a roundtrip to hell and back?
– Yes father, I am. I will do it and find my way back.
– That’s my son. People never change entirely though. They somehow lose themselves in circumstances of life and numb their inner-core in order to survive in this harsh world. What makes who you really are, it’s still there. But it’s forsaken along the years. We need to remind ourselves that we still have that in us. I always knew that you still had it in you. And I’ll always be by your side son. – His smile was radiant and heartwarming.
– Thank you father, for being here for me. Now I know there’s still time to make amends.
– There’s always time son. There always is.
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