The Unforgiven


She had imagined this moment in a thousand different ways.  She had fantasized about how he would look, where he would be, and the cause.  Not once had she imagined it would be like this, and although she had dreamt about it, she had never dared to hope she would bear witness to his dying moments.

In her mind’s eye, she had never imagined this pathetic, slobbering, weakling that is lying on the bed before her.  None of her fantasies included these silent, pleading eyes that are staring up at her.  That he is mute had never been part of the movies that had played in her mind when she closed her eyes and thought about this moment.

She had certainly never expected the emotions she is currently experiencing.  She had imagined she would feel excited, happy, relieved, angry, or an endless number of variations of these and similar emotions.  So, why the hell is she feeling sorry for the bastard?

He uses precious energy to try and reach for her.  She jumps back as if burned or bitten.  Tears fill her eyes as she turns away from him and leaves the room.

In the hallway she leans against the wall and sinks to the floor.  Familiar waves of panic begin to wash over her.  She feels betrayed by her body once more.  This is not how it is supposed to be – she should be celebrating, not whimpering like a coward and weeping at the sight of how decrepit he has become.  This is the moment she has thought about every day for forty years.  His time is finally here!  How is it possible for her to feel anything but hate and loathing for him?

All those years of burying her feelings.  All those times he raped her and beat her.  All the hours spent in counselling so she could show some semblance of normal.  Do none of those things count for anything?  Can her brain not understand she should be mad, not sad?

An orderly walks towards her.  She knows she should stand, but her body refuses to obey.

“Are you alright love?  Can I get you anything?”

Oh, how about an axe?  A knife?  A gun?  Even a sharp pair of scissors will do.

She says none of this.  Instead she shakes her head and dissolves into a fresh round of tears.

The orderly touches her gently on the shoulder, but then abruptly leaves her side.

“Well,” she thinks, “That’s just great!”

She soon realises that the orderly had left her side to attend an emergency.  She can hear the alarm ringing now.  The sound filters through her mind and she is stunned to see people running towards his room.

Scared to breathe, she rises slowly.  She tentatively makes her way to the door to his room.  It is hard to see what is happening.  His bed is surrounded by medical staff.  Voices are layered over each other as commands are issued.  She knows enough of the terminology to understand they want to revive him.

“No!”

Too late she realises she has screamed the word, and she sees some quizzical glances from the nurses facing her.  She says, “Let him die.  He has nothing to live for.  Just let him die!”

They ignore her words and continue their efforts to bring him back from the dead.  She feels the anger rising at the last and yells, “Let the bastard die!  You don’t know what he’s done!  You don’t know the lives he has ruined.  Stop what you are doing!”

As she enters the room, her arms are brought up behind her.  A voice in her ear says, “Calm down.  You need to calm down or you will have to leave”.

Finally the people around the bed move back.  They look apologetic as they file out of the room.  She’s overcome once more by the undesired sadness she felt before.  She shakes loose from the restraints on her arms and steps towards the bed.  There are tears on her cheeks as she kneels on the floor and puts her face close to his.  She pauses and examines the lines on his face.  She remembers how smooth it used to be.  She remembers the sneer, the glare and the rage that all passed over his face in years gone by.

She shudders, leans closer to him, and whispers, “I will never forgive you”.

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One response to “The Unforgiven

  1. I really identified with this story – the simple but powerful way it impacted on my psyche was in the loathing towards the father, it resonated to my core my own relationship of fear, anger, repression from my father….a tortuous abuse which eroded the purity of our family and cast shadows in every corner, of every room of our house…..but this story, it peaked my pride because it spoke of strength and vindication and that YOU NEVER HAVE TO FORGIVE no matter what…as some things are unforgivable….

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