Jan. 27th, 2007

Hindsight

Jan. 27th, 2007 10:46 am
abetterlie: (Default)
Father,

today is your birthday. I don't think anyone knows except for me; you probably didn't tell Justine, because you didn't tell me, either. After I got my memories back, I did some research, because I knew you were a tax-paying citizen of England once, living in Yorkshire. It took a while, but I finally found it, your birth year. Your birthday. I don't know why I wanted to. I guess to make sure I wasn't crazy. That I didn't dream you, that you existed. It was a weird time, trying to make all the different memories make sense, and I couldn't face Angel yet. Sometimes I thought I must be schizophrenic and should see a psychiatrist or something. Then there were times when I woke up and couldn't understand why I was at Stanford, and looked at the photo with Mom and Dad and Mere and didn't know any of them until I remembered.

Anyway. I keep thinking about those last days. Everything you said, everything I said. Angelus later told me I killed you, and I did. At first I thought that I did it by being weak and not managing to stake him the first time I saw him, though I tried. Then I realized that was an excuse because I didn't want to admit my true offense, which happened the third time I saw him, not the first. The offense you watched, in that alley behind the club, as you told me later. And there is no excuse for that. Even now, when things have changed so much between him and me. Because it will always remain true that back then, all I knew of him was what he did to you and your family and countless others. Weighed against that was the exhiliration of a shared fight during which I saw him kill some other vampires, and that dammable curiosity which you had spotted. All the other things that have made him different to me, I learned later. I didn't know them then. So I betrayed you in that alley, I betrayed you by that laughter I shared with your enemy. Seventeen years against a single day, and I betrayed you. No wonder you thought that the only way to make me keep to my path was a lie. That unspeakable lie in which you died.

"If your right hand offends you, cut it off." You quoted the bible a lot to me when I grew up, Father. But you did not cut your right hand off, because who was your right hand, if not me? Instead, you used your left hand to cut your throat. And yet she wasn't the one who killed you. I was. I understood that as soon as Angel told me about Justine and kicked me out of the house, and I should have understood it sooner, because I knew you knew I had betrayed you in that alley. How else did I expect you to react? I knew you would never, ever surrender. You weren't weak, not like me, and you never had been. Believing you when you sent me to him so you could set your plan in motion, that was my second betrayal of you. It must have strengthened you in your resolve. If I had been less of a betrayer, I would have seen through the pretense and said: "Father, I will not leave you, no matter what you order me to do."

I betrayed so many other people since then, Father, I failed them in various ways. But you were the first. And with the others, I'm usually able to tell myself that I couldn't have known this, or that what happened was necessary because of that. Or that I tried to make it up to them later, or that I tried to be better afterwards. Not with you. And there is no way I can atone for what I did to you, how I failed you, because the only way that would mean anything to you and give you peace in the hereafter is through a stake in his heart, and I won't do it. Can't, won't, don't want to, no matter how you put it.

And so I continue to betray you to him, day by day, every day we both live. I'm not asking you to forgive me, Father. I don't forgive you for being strong where I was weak, either. I went to one of the local churches today, to light a candle in honour of your birthday, and I wonder: if Judas had survived, had his mind wiped and survived and gotten cured with fake memories, would he have done this, too? It's not blasphemy, Father. You have to realize that if you live in a world of two, with everything else hell, one has to be God as well as everything else to the other.

But that, as opposed to knowing I betrayed you, is something I only figured out with hindsight.

Stephen

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