“Goddamn him anyway. He never did anything he promised, the lying son-of-a-bitch. But he sure as hell knew how to make it sound like he would!”
She bent down and rubbed her hand in the red dirt along side the grave marker as if she could reach down and touch him beneath the soil. She wanted to give up her feeling of hatred for him, but she realized as she touched the earth that she did not know how to let loose of it. It had become so much a part of her now.
Although the earth was dry, its powdery rust-colored form still stained her hand and clung under her fingernails. She tried to brush the stain away, but in doing so she accidentally rubbed her hand on the side of her white slacks, making a mark that would be difficult, if not impossible, to get out.
“It’s like it infects your soul,” she said in disgust, giving up the task.
She stood, and swept her hand across her eyes, determined not to cry, but in doing so, she smudged her face with the red dirt. Kathleen felt anger flood into her soul, as memories of the past poured pain on her unhealed wounds. She brushed at her pants in one more desperate effort, shook her head, and walked down the steps to her car, opened the door and stood for a moment, staring at the Buckley name so prominently displayed.
The hardness of her hatred welled up inside her throat, making her feel as if she was going to choke on it. How could she be rid of it, put it aside, get on with her life?
A thought came to Kathleen, something from many years before when she was doing an article on a psychiatric counselor who worked with abused women. She asked the counselor how abused women could work through the hatred they harbored for those who hurt them.
“The act of forgiveness seems to do it for some,” the counselor told Kathleen. “But for others, that’s not possible. In that case, I tell them that instead of giving up their hatred, they need to use it instead.”
At the time, it was an answer Kathleen did not quite understand.
“Yes. Turn it around. I tell the women who come to me that if they can’t get rid of it, use the hatred to get where they want to go in their life.”
Kathleen considered what the counselor told her. She knew her hatred kept her alive since Scott’s attack, had even helped her get through the ordeal of his death. Maybe putting it aside was something she would never be able to do.
She stood for a long time with that thought and then faced Scott’s resting place.
Alone in the cemetery with only the wind as a companion, she said aloud, “You’re not going to get me, Scott. You tried when you were alive. I’ll be damned if you’ll do it from the grave.”
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