Atonement.

PART 3

…continued

I could not take in more of what Father was saying. I regretted even asking him to narrate the story in the first place. He disgusted me. The world could definitely do without people like him. People who realize the vulnerability of the human will and take advantage of the weak. Why did he take an oath of celibacy if he was still going to lust after the flesh? Having a wife for sexual release isn’t a sin. Why were innocent children paying for the damages of the old? Why was the Holy man punishing the little children that were called to Jesus by ordering them to dig their graves as he watched?

“I never meant to hurt them,” he said.

I looked at him dead in the eye. Did he even have a brain behind his blue eyes? Did he ever listen to his words as he spoke?

My response was a heavy blow, strong enough to leave nothing on his face in its place. He picked himself up, blood rushing from his nose into his mouth, shirt and onto the floor. He knelt at my feet, soaking my feet with tears and blood. He begged for mercy from me. He reminded me of a younger version of me. Freshly widowed. Sank deep into sinful living. He reminded me of the John who was at the feet of the statue of Jesus that stood at the corner of Alsike Catholic Church. The John who had survived a heroin overdose and was begging acceptance back into the body of Christ, back into communion.

A tiny thought of mercy crossed my mind. I remembered his teachings on the seven things the Lord hated. What was the list? Feet that rush to evil errands, a lying tongue, hands that shed blood? The Lord would hate me for shedding blood. Ah! Innocent blood! His hands were not the kind to be pardoned. My hatred and anger came back in a stronger surge that it had before. My grip on Mike’s gun got firmer. I wanted to forgive him, but the greater part of me desired to see his soul reunited with his father the Devil. I pointed the gun to his forehead.

“Goodbye Father,” I shut my eyes.

*************************************************

Mike had just gotten back to town from Garissa where he was working a terrorist case. He was an officer from the DCI’s office. We had been best friends since we met. He helped me get back to my feet after Sharon’s demise at child birth. As usual, his first stop was my house to check out on his ‘niece’ Yvonne. Mike was 5’9, a little too thin for his type of work and bald. He wore dark sun glasses all the time and had the sick habit of chewing on matchsticks.

I met Mike after high school, during recruitment for the National Youth Service. From there, he ventured on to studying Criminology at The Great University. I went into business. We stayed in touch, but Mike was always all over the country.

“You haven’t even gained a gram,” I told Mike as he drew in for a bro hug.

“These Garissa people don’t feed people all too well. All we have is something they call Maraq Digaag and Sabaayad. Things were so tight there. The rogue militia vigilantes were always on our necks. I miss having good old Vodka. Actually, I’m meeting up with some informants in an hour down at Marina Club. I’ll leave all my stuff here. I’ll be sleeping in,” Mike said as he dragged in his stuff.  “Are you and Faith still boning?” he teased

“Still? We have never. You keep saying that. Maybe you’re the one who wants to ‘bone’ her. Who the hell even invented that word?”

“I see how you two look at each other,” he chuckled sheepishly, “BONEEERRRSSSS! Hehehee”

“Get lost Dr Love! You’ll catch Yvonne at night. She’s getting her hair done for her confirmation tomorrow in Church.”

Unfortunately, that was the last time I saw Mike alive. The next time he was in a wooden box. Dead. His meeting with the informants was actually a trap set by a nemesis to get back at him for busting their terror attack plan years ago. His death was heavy news to Faith, Yvonne and me- he was basically part of the family. The day before the Police came for his belongings, I decided to check through his stuff. Maybe he had something for all of us hidden as a surprise, and there was. A pink teddy bear addressed to Yvonne.

However, within his clothes, I also found his pistol. The glock was actually heavier than I imagined it to be from the action movies I watched. It was shiny new, maybe never fired before. A black hand-gun.

“This might come in handy one day.” That day was here with us.

***********************************************************************************

Bastille’s eyes were shut in fear. He had come to terms with his fate. My index finger danced daringly above the nylon trigger. My heart began to race. The voice in my head that tells me not to harm was suddenly quiet tonight. The old man began to weep. He looked at me with his eyes soaked in what I could only perceive as crocodile tears. I could not find it within myself to end a man’s life but fury burned in my heart like a consuming fire. I clenched my left fist and hit the man again.

As the old man struggled to pick himself up from the floor, the door to his office burst open. I didn’t even take the time to lock it.

“John! John! Look at me. John please,” I knew that voice. It was very familiar. High pitched as calming. A voice I loved to hear.

“Faith you don’t understand. This man has to pay with his wretched life,” I responded with my eyes fixed on the man that was now spitting droplets of crimson red blood.

Faith moved closer step by step. “You are not a murderer John. The John I know is a reasonable man. He is a caring person. The John I know is a loving man. The John I love forgives,” Faith slid her hand along my outstretched arm. Her palm settled on my right hand that had a firm grip on the gun. Hers were warm soft hands. “Look at me John. Look at me and show me you’re still the John I love.”

For a moment, it felt like a scene from an emotional movie. In theory, I would turn to Faith in tears and lower the gun and breakdown in her arms sobbing uncontrollably, then everyone would live happily ever after. Unfortunately, I was a father who had just learned that his only daughter has been a prey to holy predators. Maybe Faith didn’t understand the gravity of the matter at hand, but I did. I had to do what had to be done. I switched the gun to my left hand.

“Dad! Forgive him.”

*************************************************************************************

It was one thing to avenge heinous acts of sexual predation and a whole entirely different thing demonstrating lack of self-control and forgiveness to the apple of your eye. Yvonne ran into the room and fell into the father’s arms. She was in tears. She looked me in the eye and begged me not to be the monster that I was turning into.

Pulling the trigger that day would only make me as wicked as the man I was judging, for there is no greater sin. The hand that steals and the hand that kills both have sin inscribed on them like names on epitaphs. Forgiveness is perhaps the will of the strongest and Yvonne proved mightier that night. In the Spirit of Forgiveness that night, Bastille decided to resign and work out his relationship with God before proclaiming Him to all nations. I decided to forgive the Father because he was just a man like me, prone to sin and Yvonne forgave all of us, for being bad examples. I would come to learn that forgiveness was not to exonerate the Father but rather, to liberate us, the victims.

THE END.

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.

Mark Twain

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