6:17 am - Friday January 19, 2018

Never Again


I stand here motionless, thinking of what I had and lost. I had once felt pride at being an adept male – keeping my emotions reined in, being nonchalant – but the tears that escape my eyes today are not surprising. All my detained feelings are now free to haunt me. I wipe my tears and slump to the floor; leaning my head against the wall I close my eyes and whisper a birthday wish every year knowing that no reply would come my way. Unforgettable events flash before my eyes and resuscitate old painful memories.
My thoughts take me back to the day my father found out about my drug addiction in high school. My retribution had been severe. Father’s disappointment had tormented me for days instigating me to never hurt him again. My ‘never again’, my conviction had been strong; so strong, in fact, that I found myself indulging in my usual incorrigible life just a week later. My belligerent insolence cost him his life. I would see him suffer because of me, yet never bothered to correct my ways.
I feel intense pain in my chest as I remember your mother. As I recall her blind trust I remember how I had shattered it into infinitesimal pieces that she could not even gather herself. I remember the tear glistened look she shot my way when she was publically informed about my illegitimate affair. I told her never again but I was never faithful to her afterwards.
Then I remember how my best friend had stared at me accusingly years later and had just walked away. Why? He had just found out that I had been embezzling money from his shared in our nationally recognized company – one that he had a major part in building – drowning him in debt and bankruptcy. The first time I carried out this illicit act, I had been a minor executive in a firm after my father’s untimely death. I had promised, ‘never again’. My never again was still just as strong.
I chuckle sardonically at myself knowing that people who loved me just think of me as a horrible nightmare now. If my father were alive he would surely deny me as a son; my best friend would negate even knowing me; my wife is repulsed by the very thought of me and you probably despise me because I was always an absentee father even in the first three years of your life when prison did not know me. Fifteen years here have made me realize that my ‘never again’ was the easy and deceptive way out of sticky situations. I never had any determination. I truly am sorry, sorry because I am aware of how much you needed me. I know how much you needed your father. I just …
Kazim stopped reading abruptly, folded his father’s letter, replaced it in the envelope and tossed it angrily in the bin. This was the letter the prison authorities had posted to Mikaal’s son on his eighteenth birthday as requested in the event that Mikaal should die while serving his twenty year sentence for several counts of fraud. He looked at the crumpled paper and thought of his mother, ‘I wish I could forgive you, Dad. It’s too late now. Your apologies are worthless.’ With that he walked out into the backyard where his family was waiting to celebrate his coming of age.

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