Judgement

He sits at the port, the damp air is blurring the streetlamp light, a muddy moon in a starless night. The empty glasses are littering his table, a crowd of silent protestors. The island inhabitants have scorned him for years now, calling him a drunkard, a bum, living off the odd jobs they, in their mercy, allow him to have from time to time.

Unshaven, with dark circles cradling his eyes, he always sits at the same table, drinking the same cheap spirits, never talking, never turning his gaze away from the dark unforgiving sea. They look down on him, a stray dog, a foreigner in their midst.

She sits at her window staring out into the white snowy landscape. An icy blanket, smothering the earth, hiding the dormant beauty only the sun could have brought to life. The uncouth world she is living in now could never replace the welcoming heat of her home country. The warmth of that final embrace she still feels around her waist. The burning tears that marked her neck, so many years ago.

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If not for the small child sleeping in its crib, smiling innocently in the arms of Morpheus, she would have put on her red necklace. Drag that dagger, an heirloom passed down from her grandmother, across her slender neck.

She picks up the yellowed photograph, stroking the rough side it had been separated from its other half and reads the fading blue words:

“I send you away…

…while we remain together. I’d rather have my heart cut out…

… I’m feeling now and will so forever…”

The man pulls out the torn photograph he always keeps in his breast pocket and touches the face of the smiling bride on it with tenderness.

Although the words written on its back are incomplete, he remembers them by heart. Memories of searing pain and despair. Him screaming for her to go and her pleading to rather drown in the sea together than suffer a living hell apart.

He recites the words in his mind:

“I send you away in hopes of you giving our child the life it cannot have while we remain together. I’d rather have my heart cut out, than never feel you in my arms again and perhaps this is the pain I’m feeling now and will so forever. The absence of my heart, leaving behind a wound that cannot be healed.”

Don’t be quick to judge the quiet man sitting at the table next to you.

Don’t scorn the woman cleaning the stairs with her eyes lowered in shame.


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