Three Sins (Second Chances) | Teen Ink

Three Sins (Second Chances)

July 14, 2018
By Everette_Alderete GOLD, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Everette_Alderete GOLD, Albuquerque, New Mexico
17 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Deep into that darkness peering
Long I stood there
Wondering, fearing, doubting
Dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before"
-Edgar Allen Poe

Its wrong, what they say about second chances. Life has taught me well enough for me to know that what happens happens and second chances are simply a less painful way of reliving it all. A second chance is what my mother sought when she left. A second chance was what my brother craved when collapsed at the mercy of the needle. It was what my father believed he would find when he jumped down 20 stories wanting to spread his wings and fly. 

A second chance, perhaps was what I wanted so badly— badly enough to pack my bags and leave my whole life behind. Watching, watching as everything, my childhood and past, shrank into oblivion. Perhaps it was my sudden departure that made the aftermath so easy. Initially, at least, because if leaving the past behind were as easy as they say, I wouldn’t have left in the first place— my past wouldn’t haunt me today still. 

Before I left, I knew leaving would not atone for the sins of my past, the sins I so craved redemption from. Not from God, not from my family or home. No redemption from myself, a carved path to self-forgiveness, clear and easy. But its never that easy. You see, holy redemption is limited in filling the holes in oneself when they cannot learn to forgive themselves. Yes, I bow my head in obligatory prayer five times a day, but my wounds remain as healed as my past. Which is to say, as fresh as the day I attained them.

The sterile, unfamiliar security I find in my new home brings me no comfort. Where was this security when my mother, brother needed it? Where was it in the moments before I watched my father fly his soul away? My future is filled with promises of the stability I so longed for my whole life. But now, it has become a hash, mocking pillory— punishment to remind of what could have been. What could have been and never was.

They say my mother was a beautiful woman back then. A gurhyaa, they’d say. A doll. Perfectly carved and painted, smooth and flawless. With eyes as green as polished emeralds, my father would say. It was rare for my father to speak of my mother; he never quite recovered from her betrayal. But on occasion, when I was young, when life was as good as it could ever be, his eyes would become glazed, stuck in the too-good-to-be-true past. Yes, he’d say, and her skin, smooth and flawless. High cheekbones and arched eyebrows, she moved so gracefully. Just like a flower. Smart too, very smart indeed. My dear, she was able to baffle me with one carefully constructed phrase. At this, he would give a small, gentle chuckle, a gesture so significant he may as well have laughed himself to tears, before turning his soft gaze to me. You know, you were named named after her. Gayal. As divine as poetry. Rightly so. I see more and more of her in you the older you become. And then, it was gone, the brief happiness, quickly replaced by the gym lines years of sorrow and heartbreak had etched upon my father’s face with a cruel knife. He was only 32 at the time but looked 20 years older. Grief, I’ve discovered, does that to people.

My father was a high school professor when he met my mother, then, and always, 5 years her senior. It was a love marriage, or so they say. They were happy— happier when they discovered the subtle existence of my brother in my mother’s belly. Really, it was just that— that thing that had seemingly sealed their love in a life— that brought upon the beginning of the end, and really, I was the mistake that stroked the flame into a wildfire. My father refused to speak of why she left. No, the whispers on the streets supplemented the pieces of the story I simply forced to come together— be it the truth or not. It was the husband, some said, heads shaking, he turned on her, as all men do eventually. Others said the sadness carrying my brother brought her was far too much for her to handle. Without adding me into the mix, that is. Thus my first sin was committed— robbing my mother of her happiness, my brother of a mother, my father of his beloved.

Yet, in some ways, I cannot help but feel relieved that my mother left when I at a time when I was too young to feel pain, to remember anything, really. If these cruel years have taught me one thing, it is that nothing hurts more than finding what was once lost only to lose it once again for good. However, I have been careful to shelter these feelings privately, sheltered away from my father and brother. From my father who never write recovered from the loss of his wife; from my brother who, before my birth, had a loving, caring mother. After her heavy heart lost weight, that is.

My brother too I knew so sparsely as he was 10 years older than me and made it his business to spend as much time as possible away from home. My mother left when he was 12, certainly old enough to remember and feel the pain of it. I certainly do not blame him for, essentially, leaving home the moment he was considered old enough to do so—15. My father, I am told, was never the same afterwards and I suppose the air of grief that polluted our home became normal for me, I hardly even noticed it until the grief was suddenly gone, replaced by ubiquitous loss. On his outings, my brother mixed with the “wrong crowd” (so to say) and found solace in the needle. Of course, until he was found in the streets, needle in one hand and single, square scrap piece of paper in the other reading:

While I thought I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die- Leonardo da Vinci

I was 7 then.

Father, however, father I knew. Not as himself (which was but a long lost relic of the past), but for me, an illusion of what once was was better than the strangers my mother and brother were to me. To know that father had a better, happier past without me broke me, yes, but I tried to find comfort in telling myself that I was all he had. All he needed, for now. Yet, even today, the naivety of children never ceases to amaze me.

It was a beautiful day— warm and cloudless. Beautiful enough, anyways, for an outing. Outings were rare, so when father emerged from his study (also a rare occurrence) and suggested we take a day trip to the government building, I jumped with joy. 

The drive was 2 hours long. The government building was a popular tourist spot, and rightly so. It was 20 stories tall, polished, pristine and the roof was open to the public for picnics and casual affairs. Today, I hear, it is nothing more than a pile of rubble.

That day, father brought a basket which contained our lunch. After much, he and I climbed to the ledge at the brink of the roof, surrounded by wire separating us from the whole wide world. Then it happened, so fast I cannot recall anything save a few moments.

The moment father stood up on the ledge, taller than the wire separating him from his death.

The moment he turned to me, eyes swimming with tears.

The moment he said to me, “please forgive me, dear, but this cage has become too small and the caged bird wishes to fly.”

The moment he closed his eyes.

And jumped.

They say I was still screaming by the time the sirens came screeching.


Not long after, I packed my few belongings and ran, ran after the oblivion I wished to become. I ran, believing that if I ran fast enough, perhaps I would turn into dust and blow away. Ran, ran towards happiness, not knowing that fate had stolen it from me the moment I emerged from the womb, a small, crying creature of sin.

That was 30 years ago and I am far removed from the grief and heartache that plagued my childhood and robbed me of my youth. It is instead replaced by a new sadness, an emptiness that has always been a part of me, simply buried beneath hard felt despondency. Emptiness knowing of my sins, unforgivable yet unavoidable— knowing I stole 3 lives and simply sent them to a place that was less painful for me and them.

Its wrong what they say about moving on. Thirty years have taught me as much. Yet, I find myself hoping still. Hoping for redemption. For forgiveness. For a second chance.  

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