I had a dream recently in which I was in a rage. My father was there, though it didn’t look like him. There was fire everywhere; I was yelling at my father, breaking things, threatening him. He kept moving away, dodging my blows, telling me to stop, but it only infuriated me more.
My accusations took the form of: “Why ______? That’s right – because you’re DEAD!!!” and I would swing at him again.
Finally, I had him cornered. There was a wall of earth behind him, curved like the inside of a clam shell, and fire completely surrounding us both.
I … I can’t bring myself to write the final accusation I made, which took the form of a yes/no question.
“I’m sorry!” he pleaded.
I took it to be a ‘yes,’ my worst fears confirmed.
He tried to get away, but I blocked him.
“How could you?”
“I’m sorry, so sorry,” he wept.
I … I don’t remember what came next. I think I woke from the dream. I couldn’t get back into it. And I don’t know how to respond. I’m just …
There’s a choice in that moment. I could be violent, which might be cathartic but would ultimately make me feel worse. And it would make me no better than him – the worst of him that is in me, honestly.
I could forgive him, treat him with compassion. But it just … I’m tired of forgiving, continuing to love someone after they’ve taken so much from me. It feels too soft, too incongruous with all this fire.
I could just walk away and let him burn. Or let him past me. But he’d still be out there somewhere and if this is anything like superhero comics he’ll come back as some kind of twisted villain. I need closure, dammit!