Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Day The Enemy Died [Fiction]

[Image by Johanne A. P. ]

Maybe today I would try to pick up my life again. . . . .
I punch the snooze button on my bedside alarm for the ninth time since the beginning of this new day. Simple math, I won’t be making the bus today. With a ten minutes interval between each snooze break, it should 8:00 a.m. I would just call in sick.
I can’t do this I simply can’t do. . . .
Rolling out of the duvet cover, I plant my feet into the plush carpet. Its pleasure is a pain. Papa. . .
Everything around here reminds me of him but I have chosen to be reminded though it’s been 10 years.
I’m losing it . . . I can’t do this. . . .
I make my way to the kitchen counter. I’m Cassie, I remind myself; Cassie Reynolds and no one is taking away that name from me. Not even the latter part.
I approach the coffee maker like it’s a sepulcher holding rotting bones. The mix of coffee and rotting bones don’t go so well somewhere in my mind. I rather stick with coffee this morn and leave rotting bones till later.
Who am I? I don’t even know me any more . . .
Everything seems to speak his name this morning. General Carlton John Reynold . . . . Carly. . .  Papa. I don’t want to remember. I don’t want to.
My name is Cassie Reynolds. I never knew my mum cause she died when I was 3. Her name was Reba. And my dad . . . please don’t let me remember. . .  He killed him.
My life stopped when my father died. I moved out of my student apartment in mid town Boston and moved back home here in Seattle. The wedding plan just became an ‘impossibility’. My dear Ferdinand, oh how I loved him and still love him. But the pain was just too much for me to share. You can’t share in a pain you know nothing about. I had to let him go. He just didn’t seem to understand. ‘move on and leave it behind” he kept chanting like a downtown preacher that just got on pulpit to do his Sunday morning limbo. “I would have to keep his name” I finally told him. He looked at me appalled on the last night we met “you are not ready to become one with me”. He walked away and I never saw him again. Naïve lover. .  Someday maybe he will understand the pain of losing all you once had. But oh Papa. The rain here reminds me of him, everything does. . . . Even the plush carpet.
I pick up the remote on the counter and turn on the TV. A mournful blues melody wafts through the air. . The singer looks as pale as she sounds.
“I will wait for you forever. You left with no goodbyes. . . . Can it begin again? Maybe this time you wouldn’t be gone before I turn”.
I’m tempted to turn it off. This pale star doesn’t know what she’s singing. Who paid her to look like a Dracula? I tune to another channel. I have tried my whole life since papa left to have it back where it started. I have wished I could go down with the plane that took his life. I asked a thousand times why the last conversation had to be an argument. I have prayed to God if he ever hears me to revenge those who took the only one I had left in a world of strangers. I have tried to have it back but still I’m stuck.
I’m stuck here . . .
I set the remote down and grab my mug of hot decaf. The headline on the news channel I just tuned to is an answer to the only prayer I have uttered all my life since they took my papa from me. Hot liquid spills on me as my mug clatters on the kitchen floor.

A picture of the murderer looms on the screen. I move close to the screen like I want to grab him and strangle him. I remind myself he is already dead. I crash to the floor as I scream the pain.
Am I crying over the death of the murderer?
Am I?
I should be throwing a party
But there’s no room for a party
My anger still looms in the emptiness of my soul even after the one I seek revenge for dies.
I have stabbed him in a thousand times in my heart for what he did.
But my enemy dies and it didn’t bring back Papa.
My enemy dies and I can’t even rejoice.
What brings Joy to a soul even after the enemy has ravaged unlawfully what is not for him to have?
I thought revenge would make me happy
It only made me remember how long ago happiness left my door
A long time ago

Questions for pondering and discussion
ü  How would you define Cassie, The main character in the story?

ü  Cassie Reynolds is a type A emotional woman some would say; but is she? What traits from the story point her to be the hard hearted woman she is?

ü  Cassie moves from Boston to Seattle after she lost her father, the only family she had known (at least according to the scope of the story) in the world known September 11 plane crash. Does this give her a reason to put her life on standstill?

ü  Cassie sees a popular musician singing a bluesy love song on the TV screen. How does her reaction to the scene display the cynicism that has cleaved to her in the aftermath of her father’s death?

ü  Referring to her fiancée Ferdinand, Cassie muses ‘You can’t share in a pain you know nothing about’. Do you believe this is true?

ü  Cassie muses at the beginning of the story “I’m Cassie . . . . .  Cassie Reynolds and no one is taking away that name from me. Not even the latter part.” What’s your view on women who choose to retain their maiden name even after marriage?

ü  Cassie muses after she hears about Osama Bin Laden’s death on the TV “I have stabbed him a thousand times in my heart for what he did”. What ways do you think the September 11 event forever changed the lives of those who lost loved ones in it?

ü   A thing line theme on revenge runs through the short story. What effects has holding to a grudge brought your way in the past?

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