Saturday, December 15, 2007

Part 3: Broken and Spilled

I stand, trembling. He is here. Now. Why could he have not chosen another Sunday? My grip is weak, my knees trembling. I have heard of men so afraid their knees clattered together - and thought the notion silly. Weak men, I thought.

I am weak, I suppose. In more ways than I thought. My mind, which I once dreamed would catapult me to wealth and success and fame, I now find both incapable of defending me from outside attack, and traitorous itself: neither denying external torture nor itself bringing aught but fear and shame. No matter how severe my discipline, my mind fails me.

The screaming has never stopped, and it comes again, louder, now - at the worst of all possible times. It always comes at the worst times. There is no escape. No reprieve from the accusations and the torment and the guilt. No path out from under the weight of condemnation. And as loud as the voices scream, the quiet knowledge of my ultimate culpability is worse - unshakable and undeniable: true.

I try. I strive. Over and over again, I beat my head against the walls of this, my prison of shame. Sometimes I beat my head against the walls of this, my physical home, trying to clear my mind. Sometimes I wish the pain I have inflicted on my body might bring some relaxation of the burden on my soul.

And what good is this cup that I hold? This chalice of wine we pretend is blood? And the bread we call flesh? If they cannot release us from guilt, what can?

My hands tremble more, now. Because mingled with my fear and guilt is anger. This is not what I was promised. There was supposed to be freedom from all these things. A light yoke and an easy burden. Where is that in this world? Nowhere! My jaw clenches. And he had to come today of all days. The first time. And he had to come to voice his disapproval.

They're staring at me, now, wondering why this is taking so long. I'm trying to say the words, but my hands will not stop shaking. The pent-up emotions have chosen this moment to express themselves, and have chosen for their vehicle my limbs.

The cup falls. My face falls faster. My heart races them both toward the pit of hell. I reach for it. Miss - of course. I would. Of their own accord my eyes fall shut, my jaw clenches, my hands form into fists, and my shoulders drop. A flicker of a glance at my father as my eyes reopen, embarrassment spreading red across my face. Laughter in the crowd - and disappointment mingling with fury, writ large on my father's brow.

I turn, fleeing from the room, from this horror that is my current existence.

I am failure. I cannot even perform this simple duty.

How could the Eucharist avail me, who cannot even perform it properly?

When I find my father outside, he will barely speak to me. I feel it in his gaze; I can hear it in his tone; I can see it in the way his shoulders are set and his hands clutch tightly at his cloak: he has not, and probably never will, forgive me. He set me on a path that I could have followed. Maybe I should have. The hell I was bound for then is the same hell I am bound for now. One mortal sin, and all this is for naught. The blood, the sacrifice - meaningless. He turns and rides away, out of my life - again. Forever?

I don't know. I don't know anything anymore. I don't know why I'm here. I don't know what anything means, least of all my life and my existence. I gave up a career in law - and for what? Nothing.

I walk back to my cell. Alone.


Note: this is part of an ongoing work of historical fiction.

1 comment:

  1. I've not had an opportunity to read your last two posts, yet.

    I'm reading a book that I'd like your opinion on if you have an opportunity to read it. You can download it online for free.

    So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore by Jake Colsen

    There's a link "Read the Book" where you can download the book. It's not anything I expected.


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