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Redemption

He hadn't been here in years. What did he think he would accomplish by coming now? His eyes slid closed. The October air around him was cold, horribly windy. His cheeks were biting cold, frozen cherry red. Lips, dry and cracked, opened slowly, but he just didn't know what to say. Clenching his fists, he gave out a short sob before punching the wet grass beneath him. Again and again, grunts and pitiful whines emitted from him. Slowly, his anger came to a stop. A small disturbed amount of dirt was in front of him, lain from the fury from his fists. He was suddenly ashamed he'd came into her sanctuary and destroyed it so, just like he'd destroyed her whole life.

Singlehandedly.

Her gravesite wasn't anything special. She had no family, so he'd buried her with his, near his parents, where he planned to be buried when he died. Her headstone was made of light marble, a simple thing carved into the shape of a teardrop. It didn't have any special quotes or verses etched into it, only her name and the dates she lived and then died. No flowers adorned the plot. He certainly never came to put them there and he doubted whoever came to clean the graveyard cared enough to. It seemed a melancholy enough job without doing that too.

"Hello, Cherie," He finally whispered softly, his voice cracking, "Remember me?" 'Of course she remembers you,' He thought bitterly, 'You were the one to marry her, then tear her to the ground.' Shame coursed through him. He'd done enough to her when she was alive, he had no right to inflict any kind of pain to her now, but he needed her blessing. He'd met another woman he loved, one he would treat like a queen. The kind of treatment Cherie had deserved. He needed his first wife's blessing first, though. He would not betray her.

He would beat her black and blue, he would call her derogatory names and tear down every inch of self-confidence she ever had with just a single sneer, but he would not betray her. Not now.

"I know I wasn't a very good husband to you," 'Understatement of the year,' "but I swear I want to do right this time. Angela's a sweet, innocent girl. I want some sort of peace from what I've done, Cherie. I can't live with myself knowing." 'Cherie can't live, either,' a small voice niggled in the back of his mind, 'You killed her. You killed the only woman who ever loved you. Angela doesn't even love you, not like Cherie did.'

No woman would ever love him like Cherie did. He didn't think any woman on the planet had the kind of warm, patient love she basked him in. Even when she had a black eye, a black eye he'd given to her, she'd smile a lovely smile and he knew whatever he'd done the night before, under the influence of too much whiskey and absinthe, had already been forgiven. She couldn't forgive him now, though. Not six feet under in her best Sunday dress. It was light yellow and dotted with lillies .. pure and beautiful, just like she had been.

In the back of his mind, he wondered if it had been dirtied by bugs and mud that had found their way into her casket in the seven years he hadn't been strong enough to come and check on her.

As the wind picked up in speed, he opened his eyes, staring at her headstone, and remembered. He remembered that night he'd came home, stumbling around in a haze. He hadn't touched whiskey that night, only absinthe. It was his favourite to indulge in after a particularily nice day at work. He had an awfully bad habit of indulging a bit too much.

She'd opened their bedroom door to his jeering in her long white nightgown, rubbing the sleep away from her eyes. He'd obviously woken her up. He did that alot, but she'd never minded. Sleep is for the weak, she'd say jokingly the next morning, as she nursed her bruises and he nursed his hangovers and headaches. If what she said were true, she would've been the strongest woman in the world for all of it she got.

"C'mere baby, give me some lovin'," He'd slurred. She'd smiled indulgently and closed their bedroom door softly, before pushing herself up on her tiptoes and placing a chaste kiss against his cheek. Stubble brushed against her soft lips and alcohol laden breath tickled her nose.

"God, 'r you stupid?" He had belched before continuing, "If I wanted a kiss I coulda bought that at the bar. I want me some hard, nice, long se .. " She had shook her head, slowly but firmly. That was the first time she'd ever told him no and he was furious, although in retrospect, he should've been happy. He didn't want children but she did. She, however, would abide by his wishes. She did not take birth control and he did not wear condoms, so a child would've been easy to conceive, especially since she was on her time of the month. She did not want to displease him the next morning when he'd realized what he'd done.

That night, though, he was irrationally filled with rage. How dare she!

"You fuc - " He grabbed her hair, the long and wavy auburn hair he would so lovingly caress in the daylight, and pulled her up close, "I'll show you to tell me no, you -" Trembling with rage, he'd aimed a few drunken blows at her head before carelessly tossing her. He heard her body bounce, and realized he'd thrown her body in the direction of the stairs. It didn't fully hit him, however, until he heard a sickening crack.

Even in his drunken stupor, he'd known what that meant.

Nobody knew how she died. Some said suicide. Some said a misplaced step in a dark house. The truth, however, rang to him in that lonely Victorian as he sat in the lounge, staring at the bottle of liquor but not being able to take a sip.

Leaves crunched, bringing him back to the present. He looked up. Angela was making her way towards him. Her face was kind, and she was very motherly. Her hair was long and wavy, but a deep chocolate. It was not auburn, but it was as close as he could get. "Are you coming?" She asked, concerned, "I know you told me to wait in the pickup, but I got worried ... " A thought bloomed into his mind that Cherie would've listened, but he squashed it. Angela was not Cherie.

"Yeah," He answered slowly, "just give me a minute, okay?" He waited until Angela was out of hearing range before speaking again.

"Cherie .. please let me have this. I know she's not you, but she's all I'll have until I meet up with you again. Can I have her?" The wind slowed, and the sun began to peek playfully behind the once cloudy and dark sky. He smiled, then, because he knew that was her blessing.

Angela was not Cherie. Angela was his chance at redemption.



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Jared_T. said...
today at 5:46 pm:
A very well done little story.  I could just as clearly picture the story as if I read from a more experienced author.
 
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