"Don't leave me, Alexander!" Miriam sobbed, reaching for Alexander. "I'm sorry I said that I wouldn't ever sneak off with you again! I'm sorry for saying I didn't want to continue our love! Please, don't leave me here!"
Alexander shoved Miriam away. "Get away from me," he demanded - not so much angry at her as he was frightened by the sudden possessiveness he felt over her. He needed to get away, to get some fresh air. By himself.
Miriam was crying, her normally calm and sweet face contorted in her tears. She collapsed to the floor, choking on her own sobs.
Alexander knelt beside her, confused by the conflicting emotions that tore him apart. "Miriam, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean it. I just need some time."
Wiping her tears from her eyes, Miriam shook her head. "No, Alexander. I know what you'll do if I let you out of my sights right now. I know you'll just go off and start drinking again, and I can't let you do that." Weeping, Miriam buried her face in her hands. "I can't let you do that! What can I do for you that will keep you from drinking again?"
Alexander knew the answer to Miriam's question, and he could tell by the look in Miriam's eyes that she knew, too. Exasperated with his own weakness, Alexander sank to the floor and leaned his head back against the wall. "I don't know what's wrong with me, Miriam."
"I know what's wrong with you. You love your lust and your alcohol more than you ever loved me." Miriam was shaking with tears. "When will you ever love me for me, Alexander? When will my love - the real kind of love - be enough for you? Is it too much to ask that you would love me for who I am instead of pretending you love me so you can do whatever you want?"
Alexander woke from his nightmare, the same one he had at least once a month. Well, that was an improvement. For the first few months after he'd left, he'd had that same nightmare every night.
Rubbing his eyes, Alexander sat up in bed. He remembered that night like it had been only yesterday. He could recall every word that Miriam had said, and he could recall all the emotions that had presented themselves at her words. Four and a half years later, Miriam was still a knife to his heart.
Alexander lay back down, sweating. The worst part about Miriam's words was that the words had been true. So utterly true. I have become an animal, Alexander thought, cursing himself. When did I lose my soul to my own desires?
Hot tears rolled down Alexander's face, and he turned and saw the empty space next to him in bed, reminding him that he was alone. All alone.
"I deserve hell," Alexander whispered, though he knew he was alone. He finally let the tears flow freely, something he never had allowed in the past five years. Despite the fact that he'd certainly consumed a considerable amount of alcohol, his pain was far from being numbed. He closed his eyes against the tears. "I deserve to die and go to hell. God, just let me die and get out of here."
Alexander could not have known that his tears were exceeded only by those of his Maker, who was brokenhearted at His beloved creation's depravity and calling for him to come home. No, he could not have known that despite all he'd done, there was redemption at hand. He could not have known because the voices of damnation had increased with indescribable vehemence.