Office of the Labyrinth

Gréta Tóth

Welcome! Please sit back and relax until we take care of your documents. I will be back in a few minutes. Enjoy your time here!

— Excuse me Sir, wait please. What is this place and why am I here?

— I’m afraid that I am not the right person to tell you. — and with that, the blond man hurried away towards a long, narrow corridor which seemed never-ending compared to the small, light-filled room that offered only a coffee table and a comfortable couch. The walls were painted light yellow, similar to the color of the sun on a bright day in May. Everything felt warm and peaceful.

— Samuel Anderson! — the man, who hurried away a few seconds ago, called out from the very end of the corridor. — The principal is ready to meet you. — The assistant waited patiently until the young man reached the office, and opened the door for him. This room was much bigger than the previous one, but it radiated the same calm energy. Next to the door, huge bookshelves stood piled with leather-covered journals and books. The other side of the room was occupied by an enormous tree whose branches covered the whole ceiling.

— Good morning, Sammy! — a familiar man greeted Sam as he entered the room. He knew he had seen him before. Even the nickname seemed close: he could recall his mother calling him Sammy when he was young, yet there was no way this man could have known about it. — You have grown so much since I last saw you here. How old are you exactly?

— I just turned 18 a few days ago. Excuse me, Sir, but….

— Oh dear — the man interrupted Sam before he could say anything. — I really wished we would meet quite a few years later.

— But why? And where am I? What is this place? — Sam was in complete confusion, but he still felt calm. He did not mind being here, even though he had no clue about anything.

— Deep down, I really hoped that I would never have to explain it to you. Sammy, do you know what a labyrinth is, apart from a maze where you can get lost? — The young man decided to shake his head instead of answering, eager to get the answers to his questions as soon as possible. — Well, your life is a labyrinth that you build up. There are constantly problems and events in one’s life that create the labyrinth. Every possible solution is represented by a new direction in which you can travel. The only rule is that you have to make a decision before you can go and continue your life. Sometimes, accidents happen and the labyrinths are destroyed by someone else, which means that a person had no other choice and it was not a result of a wrong turn in the maze, or they still have a chance to make another turn, they just need some directions. If these accidents happen, people are sent to us and we have the right to influence the outcome of the situation. About seventeen years ago, a terrible car crash happened caused by a drunk driver. Only a boy was sent to us, since he still had a small chance of survival, but both parents died on the spot. The community decided to revive his labyrinth, and Samuel Anderson was sent back to Earth.

— So I was here seventeen years ago? And you sent me back? Is that even possible? If it is, then why am I here now?

— Because you violated the only rule of the maze: the ‘Straight Labyrinth’ — said the man with warm eyes, looking at him with as much love as if Sam were his own son.

— Straight Labyrinth? — Sam was completely lost at this point. So much new information at a time, and it all seemed unbelievable.

— In a labyrinth you have to take turns every now and then, sometimes there are hundreds of roads that you can pick or just two, it does not matter. Going straight in the labyrinth means that you did not make a choice at all and you got lost in your life. — Sam still did not understand what the man was trying to say, but what he said next took him by surprise.

— This morning, around 5:40, you attempted to end your own life by jumping off a bridge in your neighbourhood.— and it all suddenly came flashing back to Sam. The sadness, all the pain he had suffered, all the discrimination and bullying in school for not having parents. He was still lost in his thoughts when the man continued: — By this, you broke the straight labyrinth rule, which is basically that you cannot just exit the maze even if it is hard, you have to keep on fighting with all your strength. Sammy, I know that these past years have been horrible, but you still cannot take away a whole life from yourself. So many bright things could happen in the future. Think about your aunt and uncle, or what about your cousins or your friends?

— But why am I still here? How did I end up here again? I jumped off the bridge, I remember the water filling my lungs and the silence which followed.

— Luckily, a fisherman was nearby, and even though he could not go up to stop you, he immediately called for help. Right now, you are in the hospital floating between life and death. Look, I cannot send you back anymore because of your rule breaking. You have to be strong enough and fight for yourself. Do it for your mom and dad; make them proud! They are always there with you. Now go, show the world that you are not a rule-breaker, you just made the wrong turn in the labyrinth.

And with that, the office with the tall man, with the books and the calming atmosphere disappeared and was slowly replaced by the sound of a happy uncle and aunt, as the long lost boy returned to his home, his labyrinth, where he still had so many things to do and so many right and left turns to make.