Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Rebecca who wore a green ribbon around her neck. She’d always worn the ribbon, for as long as she could remember. Also, for as long as she could remember, people had acted like all of her decisions were crazy.
“I think I’ll go out for lunch,” she’d say, and her coworker would look at her like she was a bomb about to go off.
“Okay,” her coworker would say. “Are you sure you really want to do that? I mean, it’s up to you. But why exactly do you want to go out for lunch?”
“I’m going to the movies with Sharon this weekend,” she’d tell her mother.
“Oh,” her mother would say. “Well, alright, if you’re sure that’s what you want to do. Are you absolutely sure that’s what you want to do?”
“I think I’m going to go to nursing school,” she told her best friend, Sharon.
“Really?” Sharon said. “Um, okay. I mean…okay, if you’re really sure that’s what you want to do. But do you mind if I ask why you thought of that? Are you really, really sure that’s the best career choice for you?”
It all started to get to Rebecca. She wondered if she was stark out of her fucking mind somehow, and everyone could see it but her. She began to doubt every single thing she did. She couldn’t make the simplest decisions. She couldn’t pick out her clothes in the morning. She couldn’t decide whether to eat breakfast or skip breakfast or throw her breakfast out onto the lawn. She’d get in the car and scream and close her eyes and drive at random. She quit her job one day, begged for it back the next, went out with a guy one day, broke up with him the next, made appointments that she didn’t keep, impulse purchased big luxury items that she sold on eBay two days later.
Eventually, she decided she just needed to get away from it all. She would travel to Europe for the summer!
“Oh, Rebecca,” said everyone she knew. “Are you really sure that’s the best idea? I mean, can we just ask what exactly your reasoning is behind it? I mean, it’s fine if that’s what you want to do, but are you sure that’s what you want to do?” They looked at her as if she was dangling an infant off the top of a 40-story building, and also as if she herself was that infant.
“Yes!” she said. “I am absolutely sure that’s what I want to do!”
The next day Rebecca sat on the plane to Paris. She heaved a sigh of relief. It was so nice to have a little vacation. She couldn’t wait to see the world. She felt unfettered, carefree. She tugged absently at the ribbon around her neck and wondered why she’d always worn it. When had that started? What was the purpose? Why had she never questioned it until this moment? She decided that she would take it off already. She didn’t need anybody to make her double-guess her decision. She didn’t need anybody else’s opinion at all. She untied the bow.
Rebecca’s head detonated instantly. The massive explosion blasted the aircraft to bits and the fiery wreckage plummeted into the ocean below.