Hobbling along the line to the sandpits my ankle swelled and the pain grew into a charged agony. Sila. All that I allowed myself to think about was her. Sila. My sweet child cut down in her best years. Sila. Betrayed and corrupted in a one sided feud not her own. Sweet, innocent Sila. Poor Sila. So fair. So pure.
The queue rolled on and M struggled to help prop up my weight, but she refused to give in. We rested when the queue paused and I hopped along hoping against all logic and reason to find my girl and to then either take her from that place or at least appease her mother and let them live out time in a truth that was becoming such a deserving being. The pain plateaued at deafening but I refused to stop despite M’s eventual insistence. It strained her heart too to see me suffer, no matter the reason, but she understood. She wouldn’t stop me by force; and I loved her more in that moment than I ever had. She had never raised Sila. Winnie had. And yet her will to protect Sila made of her the very pinnacle of beauty.
“You’re more than I deserve.”
“Shut up, ya eejit.”
“I mean it. I’m just a man but you’re so much more.”
The look she gave me was pure and open, unblemished by any intent or thoughts, just a sharing of her being with me. And it took away so much of my pain.
“Up please, Baby.”
“Ya eejit! Come on!”
And so I hobbled us along until we came to the sandpits. Standing there over the pit I couldn’t help but think of when Sila had led me through it before – she was so sweet and helpful, so caring. But that was a lifetime ago then. She had been so deceived that as I stood there remembering her how she had been, until the loss of her innocence burned right through me. It was my fault. Everything was my fault. I had betrayed Ola by falling in love with Winnie and that act had caused Sila to be doomed by Ola’s vengeance.
Before I lost myself to spiralling self-hatred I dove into the sand, my mind crushing under the weight of having fallen short of what I owed my daughter. Even though I loved M and I had committed myself to her in my last two lifetimes I knew that I had caused Ola to do what she did. I knew that I bore than sin on my soul and for that I couldn’t forgive myself.
“You stupid fuck, James!”
“I’ve come for Sila.”
“She doesn’t want to see you! Only god will see you now. You have no right to see my daughter.”
“Ola, whatever happens I’m sorry for what I did to you.”
“Fuck you, James Fay! You’re nothing! I’ll laugh as they destroy you! What the fuck is she doing here?!”
“Ola, will you call Sila for me please?”
“Fuck you, she’s not here!”
“Fine. Ola Wanska, I challenge you in god’s court.”
“When do you want to meet?”
“Tomorrow! Queue once you wake then I’ll see you torn down you fucking man-whore!”
I said nothing more and just turned and walked away. I knew that she was unaware of my knowing that she had bribed god. A surprise, really, seeing as it seemed to be public knowledge, however, hatred can blind anyone. Regardless, I had caught her off guard and I wasn’t going to deviate from my plan.
To be continued…
© Stephen Fahey