I have long forgiven him. It’s been that many years, I don’t need to hold on to the baggage that weigh me down. I have long forgiven him, for I need to be happy and live my life again. I am very capable of doing this for my own sake. But in my dream, he appeared. What was my subconsciousness trying to tell me? I don’t know. But I clearly saw his face in my dream. The years of hardship have evidently put a toll on his thin and frail body. He walked with a limb and a hunchback. His darken face was moldy, wrinkled, creased. This was how he turned out after all those years.

He held my hand, opened his mouth, the missing teeth and black tar aged him even more than he actually was. He sputtered a few words, inaudible few words, in an undiscerning language that was unfamiliar to me. He tried to say something, my heart somehow filled with anger once again. I should not allow such emotion to take over me, but seeing him standing in front of me of what seemed like an interminable moment irked me. How dare he be there to remind me of a tainted moment of my childhood? How dare he bring back such past that I tried to leave behind?

But in my dream, I had no power to stop it. I let the moment drag on, with him, the man who tainted my 9-year-old self. Hatred rose, overflowed, and busted. I slapped him. I slapped his old and emaciate face. Once, twice, and I stopped after the third one. Revenge? Are those slaps enough to fill me up with insatiable quest for revenge? He did not dash. He did not defend himself. He stood there, his back still hunched, dulled eyes, long and droopy face. Perhaps he needed to do so, to bear the pain for lingering guilt? He tried to say something once again, but I was deaf to his words. I saw myself morphing back to the innocent and naive 9-year-old self once again, I cried, I was still afraid of him. It’s an inherent fear of my childhood. As I ran away, I heard him crying, and when I took a glance back to where he was, I saw his body collapsed and ablaze into ashes.

As a victim of rape, the traumatic experience as a 9-year-old child never left me. As much as I try to dislodge it from my daily orbit of life, once in awhile, in my subconsciousness, the fear that I carried as a young child is always there. I never knew if that man ever felt the guilt, or if he ever thought of the emotional damages he did to me. I assume that he has never done so. However, I always hope that he is a contrite sinner, that his conscience has reminded him of what he did was wrong. I hope the vignettes of my dream are what my subconsciousness is trying to inform me that in someway, he found atonement.

Wordle: Untitled


18 thoughts on “ashes

  1. cám ơn chị Cap và chị Đậu đã cho em những cái ôm và cái nắm tay ấm áp. Lâu lâu trong lòng nó cứ khó chịu vì những giấc mơ như vầy. Cứ để trong lòng thì nó càng khó chịu.

    Thy — I know what you mean. It’s hard to leave them behind. They are like leeches. But they teach you to be a stronger person in life. Hugs!!!

  2. Wow. How providential. Just in time for Ash Wednesday.
    He’s probably in desperate need of your help to find true atonement.

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