(A FFXI Fanfic)

- Beginnings -


When all is said and done, people still ask: Did we do the right thing? Was there more that we could have done? What if...

“What if...”

That single phrase is capable of being the dismantling of one’s inner self; in the matter of a heartbeat. It is unavoidable. It lurks there in the darkest recesses of the mind, waiting. Yearning to be set free and let loose. To unleash its unstoppable, corrosive disease of guilt.

In the end, all we have are the memories and “what ifs.” Before the end, though, there is the beginning and everything in-between. The exact beginning, if one truly exists, is of no importance. The beginning known is the beginning offered.

I offer my beginning. Take it or leave it, it is what it is. It’s the only one you’ll get; the only one I have to offer. The only one I know anymore.

The stuff in-between, well, I am sure others will remember things differently. It’s the stuff of stories and make-believe. Tales that get twisted and warp with each telling while being passed on as fact.

And the end? I am sure everyone will agree upon the end. It seems the only thing in life that is ever constant and absolute. Death.

The gathering clouds in the evening sky are reminiscent of the night all of this began. A different beginning, told to me in passing by a friend. His beginning. None of that matters anymore, though.

Everything is over now. When all is said and done, it is what it is.

But, as I stand here looking over the graves of my comrades, friends, and family; remembering the events that took place, sacrifices made, blood spilled, lives lost, I can’t help but wonder...

...what if...