The origin of my misery lay dying in a hospital bed. As I entered the room, I was overcome with the competing emotions of compassion and anger. A natural urge to embrace the suffering was rapidly suppressed by the anger that had burned inside me for so many years. He was dying, finally, but only after he had damaged the souls of those who came close to embrace him. In fact, he actually did not appear to be suffering enough, all things considered. He lay there comfortably, all doped up, resting on crisp white sheets, smuggled in warm white blankets, an array of white pillows framing his head like a halo.
He reached out to me. “Eshe” he pleaded, using my African name. “Come closer, I want to tell you something.”
The sorrow in his eyes again reached out to my compassionate nature. Which was immediately slammed again by the anger. Just because he was dying did not mean he was a changed man. He was in fact still the abusive asshole who ruined my life and scarred the emotional development of our children. It was not so long ago, this year I think, that he had physically assaulted our son in a dispute that began over steamed vegetables. His death could only bring relief. I looked over into his swollen, yellow eyes and almost felt pity. But then I saw just a glint of that old, nasty flame that deceitfully invites you to be burned. Instinctively, I began to back away. It’s a trick, one last swing to bruise my psyche before departing to face the consequences of his choices. No way will I give him the opportunity to inflict pain on me, even if it is his dying wish.
“Eshe, please…!!” he begged as I turned my back and exited the room.