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Narrator: After the priest reached the summit, he began his descent down the other side of the mountain. Soon he reached a dense forest where he spotted a dark figure near a tree. As he approached the spot, he saw a woman hanging herself with a rope on a tree. Before the noose could tighten about her throat, the priest threw a dart at the rope. The dart hit the target. As the woman fell to the ground with the broken rope around her neck, the priest rushed forward to support her.|
Woman: (coughing and gasping for breath) Why don't you let me die so that I can deliver myself from my suffering now?
Priest: We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Woman: Stop kidding yourself! What hope? I have lost all hope in life.
Priest: According to Chuck Palahniuk, an American novelist and freelance journalist, "Losing all hope is freedom.”
Woman: Stop kidding! The only freedom awaiting me is in the other world.
Priest: Death comes knocking at anytime. Why go knocking on its door?
Woman: Let me tell you all about my suffering that has brought me all the way here. About three years ago, I met a man from a nearby village. We were married after a whirlwind romance. At first I thought it was a marriage made in heaven, and we would live happily ever after. My marital bliss, alas, was short-lived as my spouse’s emotional and verbal abuse soon turned it into a nightmare.
I discovered his extramarital affairs with a widow whom he kept as a mistress not far away from our home just a few months after our marriage. I quarrelled with him, demanding him to end his extramarital relationship. Instead he shouted at me: "If you wish to live happily, you must abandon your hostile policy towards my lover and learn to co-exist with her. You should wake up from your pipe dream of me giving up my very early childhood sweetheart whom I have lost and found through all kinds of hardships after many years."
Several months later, he even brought his mistress into the house to live openly with him. In a fit of rage, I left him to stay with my parents. Instead of showing some remorse, he threatened to turn my parents' home into a "sea of fire" unless I accepted his choice and way of life.
Priest: What a happy-turned-sad story!
Woman: While my parents were away on an overseas trip last week, he suddenly came knocking on the door one night. With one hand holding out an olive branch and the other a bouquet of red roses, he sang a love song to me under the starry night sky graced with a blue moon.
Priest: How romantic! Now it looks like a happy-turned-sad-turned-happy story.
Woman: Unfortunately, it did not turn out in that way. When I asked him whether he had broken it off with the other woman, he responded emphatically, "You still harbour the wicked intent of leading me into giving up my very early childhood sweetheart. My romantic relationship with her is non-negotiable and I can only be parted with her by death."
Anyway, that was nothing new to me as he had emphasized umpteen times that he would never abandon his mistress. Since this was the first time in two years I met face-to-face with him, I decided to give him a chance for reconciliation, hoping that my dream for reunion will come true one day.
That night was the happiest moment in my life. However, when I woke up next morning, he was nowhere in sight. Not only was he gone, all my savings and my parents' precious possessions were gone too. When I went to look for him in his house, the door was locked and he was nowhere to be found. A neighbour told me he had left with his mistress at dawn. Later I found out from the police that they had left the village.
All this while I have been dreaming of a happy reunion with him one day. His deception came as a very rude awakening.
Priest: (thinking to himself) Rather, it’s all due to your capacity for self-deception.
Woman: (continued talking) Using an analogy, there is no hope of putting two halves of a broken mirror back into one. The shock was too much for me to bear. Thus I came all the way here to seek deliverance from my bitter distress.
Priest: (thinking to himself) Fool! Ha! First, you dreamed of marital bliss. Next, you dreamed of a happy reunion with your cheating spouse. You can never be awakened from your pipe dreams!
(saying aloud) Love has blinded both your eyes in this happy-turned-sad-turned-happy-turned-sad story.
Woman: I beg to differ. Love has blinded one eye while the images of the "sea of fire" have transfixed the other.
Priest: Here is a gold bar with a value enough to support you and your parents for one year while you look for a job to ensure a continual flow of income.
Woman: Thank you so much. I have never expected to meet a Good Samaritan in the suicide forest.
Priest: As a matter of curiosity, will you give your cheating spouse another chance for reconciliation and reunion if you meet him next time?
Woman: Never! Never will I believe in him again! That liar has never uttered one word of truth.
Priest: (thinking to himself) Foolish woman! A liar does utter a word of truth sometimes. Dreamers and fools choose not to believe in a liar when he tells the truth but believe in him when he utters an untruth. Didn't your cheating spouse tell you the truth umpteen times when he emphasized that his "till death do us part" relationship with his mistress was non-negotiable? You have lost your mind by swallowing his lies hook, line, and sinker but closing your eyes to his disarming frankness.
(saying aloud) I hope you won't be deceived by him again if he offers you an olive branch and a bouquet of red roses next time.
Woman: I shall tell him straight to his face that he can fool me some of the time but not all the time.
Priest: (smiling) You seem to have grown wiser now. Time will tell whether you will allow yourself to be deceived by him again and again.
Woman: I can assure you, "Never! Never again will I be deceived by him!"
Priest: (smiling, and thinking to himself) I am sure you will rise to the bait whenever that crafty guy holds out an olive branch and a bouquet of red roses to you.
Narrator: After accompanying the woman back to her parents' home, the priest continued his journey to the Old Man's Mountain.