A baby is born. A sweet, little thing. So precious, soft, and loving. Completely unaware of her surroundings, the child enters the world, slimy and squirmy. The big, scary, freaky world – so mean, so uncaring, with so many things possible and impossible all at once.

It really was a shame the baby hadn’t passed the test. Things would have been much easier if she’d had. But of course, that’s why the rules were written long ago, to make decisions like this clearer for everyone. There was no reason to make it overly-complicated. “Keep It Simple,” was the mantra. The test allowed fewer people to get hurt; it was just too risky to let everyone into the world if it could be proven that some wouldn’t be able to handle it, wouldn’t be able to ignore their inner voices screaming that everyone had gotten it all wrong.

If the test revealed a soul would eventually lead its person to believe life was truly supposed to be fulfilling and fruitful, that people were meant to love each other unconditionally and support one another’s growth and self-actualization, instead of slowly killing themselves in the name of “maturity” and “wisdom,” they would not be allowed onward. The sanctity of the good life could not be risked by those who couldn’t fully support the development of the false self. Everyone knew all good things come only from the rejection of beautiful character.

But it was in the moment the child had failed the test that things had gotten strange. That things had proceeded unpredictably was the only way she was able to see it from where she was today, see it all go down from her far-off vantage point into the future, as it happened so many years ago now.

Her test scores had been fresh off the printer, the ink not yet dry, when out of nowhere a stranger had emerged to advocate for the child. It was up to that point unheard of that anyone would risk their reputation to advocate for a baby that hadn’t passed the test. But that day the unheard of had happened. Before the grading committee was a baby that had failed mere moments into her life and an individual who so believed in her that he had sacrificed himself to ensure she was able to live it. A rare sight, indeed, and not to be duplicated since.

Although none outside of the grading committee had heard the arguments put forth by the stranger, their strength had been enough to propel her onward, into the cold future. No one knew what had happened to him afterwards, where he had come from before, or the reason for his unholy pursuit. But, it was because of him that she was alive at all. She owed a stranger a life that had started out in utter failure combined with some form of presumably misguided favoritism.

Unfortunately for her this entry into life could only have resulted in one of confusion and loneliness, a constant feeling of “otherness.” A disorienting sense of being supported in a mysterious way, as if she was the keeper of some hidden purpose, mixed with an overt sensation of having snuck in somehow, although she had no way of recognizing that’s what it was she felt, because for most of her life she would not be able recall her first experiences as a human in this world.

However, one thing had always been painfully clear – everyone else seemed to have it all figured out. Things seemed to make sense and come easy for the rest; but, for her, they got lost in translation.

Although it wasn’t clear to her for many years, finally she knew; she knew what it had been all along – she hadn’t really passed the test from the start. She had broken the rules before she even knew they existed. She never had a chance.

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