Someone is reminded of a memory and a life
“Everyone deserves a second chance.”
The words drift slowly down from the pulpit. They land, stirring up a cloud of dust.
Stirring up memories.
This memory focuses slowly, like an old television.
“You put the cans in the cupboard. Not the drawer. The cupboard. I’ve told you this before.”
It could have been any argument. But that was the one. The climax.
“Okay, I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.”
“Yes you will. And I know you will because you always say that, and you never remember. And it's-you're not even listening!"
"I'll remember next time! And I am listening. You said I should put the cans in the drawer, not the cupboard."
"No I didn’t, and you say that every single bloody fucking time. You never say anything else. I won’t do it again. I’ll remember next time. You’re so fucking impossible!"
Her voice-high, mocking, trying, to hurt, to cut, to the draw the first blood.
"Look, I've said sorry! What else do you expect me to say? Something amazing? You’ve made it clear you don't expect amazing from me!"
Facing him. Breathing hard.
Her face twists, angry-a shove from her, a push in reply. Her eyes widen slightly- surprised? afraid? - the fights generally don’t come this far. But something unidentifiable eclipses it. Maybe she realised that this could be the final time. Maybe she didn’t care. She hesitates. But her eyes harden and she shoves again, her face twisting in anger. But the reaction-
a slam against the wall, a crack, a 'tuk',
and her brittle neck is snapped off a jutting shelf like a dead twig.
And for one last moment their eyes meet. Her’s widen again-shocked. Her mouth moves. Then her eyes flicker and she slumps.
There was no blood, no evidence of any sort. The house was nowhere, clinging perilously to a high cliff. She had loved its wildness and freedom, but grew to hate it for its isolation.
She disappeared. What else could be said? A search party went looking for her and a search party found her at the bottom of the cliff, to no-ones surprise. She was like a discarded wrapper, when she was brought up to the house for the wake-crumpled, bruised, torn. The news was broken over a cup of hot, sweet, milky tea and kind fragile words.
They said maybe it was an accident, that no-one really could be blamed, that maybe she had been careless. No-one even suspected that she could have done it to herself, despite the talk in the village. They put the bruising down to clumsiness. They never learned what really happened, not with such limited forensics as they had then.
Later, waking up in the middle of the night, convinced she was talking.
Opening the drawer to put away cans and then remembering the cupboard.
And on cold wet nights trying to turn back time.
Anything to say sorry.
Anything to change the past.
Everyone deserves a second chance.
Even the damned.