A/N: Whoop-dee-freaking-doo, my first (and possibly only) Looking for Alaska fic. To ExceedinglyPeculiarChick because she's one of the only two people who read what I write regularly, and I've dedicated too many stories to wombat-of-awesomeness.
How will you—you personally—get out of this labyrinth of suffering?
I'd never thought that much about the labyrinth before Alaska died; to me, it was just a quote, one that she keep repeating but didn't really know the meaning of. Only now do I fully realize what she meant.
It took me a while to figure out, of course—just like the mystery of her death, I didn't just wake up one day, knowing the answer. It wasn't like one of those inspirational stories that you hear in church where the minister's telling about some miracle, when a person is truly enlightened or finds the answer to that Big Question. It wasn't a staggering sensation that knocked me to the ground; it was more like the swimming hole by my mom's trailer park on the very first day that it isn't cold. You dip one toe in and recoil from the feeling before reluctantly sinking in slowly since it's so cold—but you just have to swim. I stand at the edge of the water, musing. I had to know the meaning of the labyrinth just like I had to take the first swim of the season. Because if you don't, the possibilities will always tease you.
So I thought about it. Why, of all quotes in books or on the Internet, would Alaska Young choose this one? And I feel my toe skim the surface of the water. Because she could relate to it. I put together all of the things that I knew about Alaska—the story of her mother's death, the twists and turns that were her mind at its bitchiest and best. How could she, an ordinary girl, relate to words so full of hopelessness?
She wasn't just an ordinary girl. She herself was somewhat akin to the labyrinth—not in the sense that you couldn't get out, but instead the twists and turns and unpredictability. She was the kind of girl to always question her surroundings, and never take anything for what it is, or is supposed to be.
Alaska Young had a horrid and tumultuous childhood. A tough life. She wanted out.
Out of what?
But what is the labyrinth? What exactly was she trying to escape?
She saw too much, she knew too much. Humanity would never come to understand, in hundreds or thousands of years, even half of what Alaska had stored in that great coliseum of nothings that was her soul and heart.
I dip one or two fingers into the water to test its temperature. It is warm and inviting. I must be getting closer.
And suddenly, I know the meaning of the labyrinth. The labyrinth is life, full of spacious passageways and dusty, dead ends. Life is full of suffering, but on most days the good outweighs the bad—unless you're Alaska Young, for whom there hardly was any good. The good that was present, however, was fake, trivial, and insincere. Not enough.
Which brings us to this—suicide or drunken mistake? Maybe she was stronger than any of us could ever comprehend, and would never take her own life. But maybe she was unable to process all that happened to her, and her circuits overloaded and exploded.
Me? I don't think she killed herself. But either way, she got out of her labyrinth of suffering.
And in turn, showed us how to stay in. Because when you finally reach the exit, or tear through the walls in an attempt to escape, there is no way back in. You can never come back.
Perhaps the labyrinth meant something a little bit different to Alaska than just life at its simplest. Perhaps she was long gone from its deceiving paths, trying to find a way back in.
Perhaps, perhaps. We will never know.
Congratulations, Alaska. You made it out. Happy? Not me.
But the past is past. I take a deep breath and jump straight into the water.
And keep swimming.