Another contribution to the "Romantic Friday Writers" Challenge, where participants offer up to 400 words on a specific subject.
This week's theme is 'Forgiven' and my excerpt (397 words!) is from 'Fragrance of Violets' which is scheduled for release by Whiskey Creek Press in February 2012.
Abbey has never been able to forgive her father after he deserted his family when she was nine years ago. She has had no contact with him for years, but then she discovers he is dying. To begin with, she refuses to see him again but, after a lot of soul--searching, she finally decides to visit him in the hospice. He’s sleeping as she talks quietly to him.
“You know what the worst thing has been? I lost my trust in men because of you. I’m waiting for them to hurt me, expecting them to abandon me or lie to me just as you did.” Her voice choked as she thought about Jack. “But they’re not all like you, are they?” A tear slid down her cheek and she wiped it away. “I once asked Louise if she’d forgiven you. She said she didn’t know but she’d decided she wasn’t going to let what you did affect the rest of her life. She’s managed it, so I’m damn well going to do the same.”
She looked again at the sleeping figure. “Maybe I do have to forgive you, but for what? For not being there for us? For all the hurt, and anger? Or maybe I simply have to accept that it’s all in the past and not let it affect my life in the future. Your life’s coming to an end now, and I’m sorry because you’re only fifty-three. But I have to let what you did die with you. I’ve spent nearly twenty years letting it affect my life and I can’t let it affect the next twenty years. I need to move on. I have to move on, Dad.”
The tears slid down her face and she put both hands to her cheeks to wipe them away. “Okay.” The word came out as a gulp and she swallowed. “Okay, I’m still not sure how I actually move on, but saying all this to you has helped. I haven’t said I hate you or despise you, because I don’t. Not any more. I think I just feel sorry for you because you went on a search for happiness that probably didn’t make you happy at all. And now, Dad, who are the people around you? Not any of your girlfriends. Just the three daughters you abandoned. Because somehow we all have to find our own peace.”
She swallowed hard again. “I’ve said the things I’ve wanted to say to you for years. Maybe it doesn’t matter that you haven’t heard them, maybe it just matters that I’ve said them. Finally said them to you. And now I need to go.”
She stood up, looked down at the sleeping man, then bent forward to put a light kiss on his forehead. “Goodbye, Dad,” she whispered.
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