From amidst the darkness, he lifted his grievous carcass, walked the distance to the room’s only window pane and for the next minutes, he just stood there – sunken in faint moonlight. It was a picture of a broken man. A man, who longed for one more day of innocent childhood; a plea he knew he would never be granted.
I wondered why he left his armchair to wait at the window, when standing upright apparently exhausted him to a hazardous extent. Maybe he found a way to avert his eyes from me, by this. “Something has happened”, he whispered, his head turned left, his gaze soft and unfocused; out in the woods. Maybe he didn’t want to have to see me, but – in some strange way – it felt like he still needed to be seen. Moments passed.
And suddenly, I realized, he was looking out to say goodbye.
Taking in his next breath, he opened his mouth as if to start a phrase, but stopped in time, so nothing came out. “I killed a man.” And all went quiet. “I’m sorry”, he erupted in honest tears, “I pulled the trigger, and now he’s dead.”
There was so much I would have liked to say, but had to find it was already too late for my advice – I didn’t get a chance to tell him, before. And now, he knew. He turned his head around, and saw me crying.
“I didn’t mean to, Mama.”
Slowly, I shook my head, “No, you don’t understand”, I said, “You did not know the harm you would do.”
There he stood, a grown man, appearing old and worn out in pale light, but of young age, actually. He had killed. But he didn’t look like a criminal to me. His eyes looked at me, regretful, scared. He looked frightened by the immense weight that is life, the weight that had changed overnight. And here, in the dark, he was searching for consolation like a little boy, but at the same time embarrassed by his desperate move. I couldn’t return his innocence. I could just watch him suffer in agony. The guilt was nearly choking me. His life had just begun.
“I’ve thrown it all away, now”, he sighed, and after a minute, added: “I don’t know what will become of me. But I feel, my time has come.” And with this, his eyes focused, his body stiffened and he turned around, emphatically, as if he had gained sudden certainty on what needed to be done.
Kissing me on the cheek, he wiped my tears and said: “Goodbye, Mama. I didn’t mean to make you cry. But believe me, I’m going to make it right; I’m going to be the man I never accomplished to be, before.” Quickly, he picked up a cloth of linen, gathered his sculpting tools and carving knives on it, and said: “If I’m not back this time tomorrow, carry on. Carry on, as if nothing really mattered.” Bursting with anticipation, he left the house, the estate, the woods. And never returned.
I hope he eventually found the relief he was looking for.
But it’s not what I wanted for him.