“Fourteen years is a long time.Yes, a very long time.But it was not long enough to heal the deep and sinister wound etched in my heart. The pain has never reduced, it still hurts as much as it had hurt fourteen years ago.The only difference is that I have learned to live with the pain, I have got used to the pain, I have accepted that nothing can be done about it”. Annie paused to look at the little boy sitting by the kitchen table, coloring. She sighed deeply and continued.”God forbid this from happening to any one in the world.The loss of a child, that is the ultimate curse that can be bestowed on a parent”.
Jessie looked at an odd pattern on the wall.She did not want to meet the woman’s eyes.She could understand.Could she imagine a world without her little boy even for a second? But then, she had to persuade this woman.Her brother was dying, she had to keep her promise, at least once in her whole life she had to do her duty as a sister.All her life, she had done nothing for him.She could never save him from self destruction.She had to painfully witness her baby brother transform in to a drug addict. This was her last chance to do something for him.
“What good will it do?” Annie continued.” What difference will it make, will I ever get back my daughter?” Shadows of incomprehensible emotions loomed on her wrinkled face.
“It would make all the difference in the world in my brothers life.” Jessie whispered. She summoned all the courage to look in to Annie’s eyes.”He has suffered all that he had to in these years.He never had a life of his own.All I want you to do is to have mercy on a dying person.Please tell him you have pardoned him,please lie to him if you think you can’t forgive him.Please let him get peace of mind at least in the last few minutes of his life,the one that was denied to him since he was nineteen ”
Annie did not say anything.She knew that the young woman was talking sense. She knew she had to let go, but she was not sure if she could do that.
“I know what my family had done to yours” Jessie continued cautiously.She knew she was treading on a very touchy subject. She knew how her father had manipulated the trial and let her brother walk away scot free.”Had he been given the punishment he deserved, his life would not have turned in to the night mare which it now is! He never could escape the guilt, the whole incident weighed down on him. He spent his life drinking and taking drugs, but no amount of intoxication could make him forget the reality.He kept running away from anything and everything that reminded him of his past.But then you can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.I wish he had realized that a little earlier.Now he is running out of time, a couple of months more may be.He wants to see you.He wants to apologize.I know that it won’t give you back your daughter, but then it would give my brother everything in the world ”
Annie kept staring at her daughters portrait.This guy had strangled her only daughter to death.His father had deceived the whole world by falsely accusing that her daughter was psychologically unstable and had committed suicide.How she had longed to see his life disintegrating!But did the fact that he had paid the price of her daughter’s life with his own life gave her any comfort?Was she saintly enough to forgive him or forget her past ordeals?But then he was repenting.As Jessie had said, she could at least lie.
She looked back at Jessie.She could see the hope in her eyes, she could hear the silent prayer that was echoing in her heart.May be she should meet him after all.If not for him,she should do that for this sister of his who had been waiting on her door steps all these months.How many times had she rebuked her, how many times had she just closed the door to her face and ignored her!But she had come back every single time.She had persistently pleaded for her brother, she had patiently endured all the insults.She knew she would have done the same for her daughter.When you love ,you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve.
She looked at Jessie and told her.”I will come with you.I think it is time for me to let go.”
Jessie felt as if a stone was lifted off her chest. Her eyes welled up.”Thanks” She muttered and extended her hand to touch Annie’s hand. Annie gave it a reassuring squeeze.
This post has been written as a part of the Ernest Hemingway prompt of the Write tribe.