08 July, 2013

8 July 2013

Silence, the occasional sound of dripping water, and Liz could feel Einar growing more restless, wanting to rise and go wandering the mine passages, wandering out into the snow, probably, and she held onto him.

“What are you thinking?  Can you tell me?”

She felt him shrug.  “Just trying to piece things together.  Seems like every time I read it…there’s ­­so much I hadn’t remembered, hadn’t thought about for a very long time, anyway, and every time I read it, more comes back.”

“I know.  I’ve seen how it is for you when you read…  Wish you wouldn’t go there right now.  Wish you’d stay here with us.”

“I’m with you.”

“Barely.”  She ran her hands over his shoulders, tucked the blanket in more closely around his neck.  He still hadn’t made much progress towards getting warm.  “You’re barely there, Einar.  Literally.”

“I know.”

“Maybe if you could try and let it go for a little while, just let it fade so it wasn’t the first thing in your thoughts all the time, things would be just a little easier.”

“Not looking for easier.  I need all the challenge I can get.”

“Life would be plenty of challenge right now, don’t you think?  Just living life, just....keeping yourself alive.  Without all the other things.”

“Oh, this being barely alive thing works pretty well, really.”

“Doesn’t look to me like it’s working very well at all, right now.”

“You should see the alternative.”

“Oh, I think I’ve seen it.  Hints of it.  I know it isn’t pretty.  But none of that is going to matter a whole lot if your ‘barely being alive’ slips just a little and leaves you ‘not alive.’  You have to know it’s not far at all from that, right now.  I’m just asking you to look at a little different path.”

“I’d be a coward to want a different path.  To want a way out.  This is the path I’m to walk.”

“This is the path you’ve chosen to walk.  It’s a choice.”

He shrugged, didn’t see much difference.

“Which means that you could choose a different one.  But you don’t want to.  Don’t want to let yourself start to get past this, or even to set it aside for a little while so you could stand a chance of eating again and building up your strength, do you?  Why is that?  Why has the challenge become the most important thing?”

“I guess because without it…well, without the daily struggle, guess maybe I’d be left to really look at the entirety of what I’ve done and who I am.”

You’re the man I love, that’s who you are.  You’re Will’s father.  You’ve repeatedly put your own life in danger to protect the two of us, and even for other people who you barely knew.  You’re all of these things.  Why can’t you see it like that?  “What part of that entirety is so hard to face?   Is worth dying to avoid facing?”

“The part where I walked away and left a young man to be tortured to death in a bamboo cage.  To save my own life.  That’s what.”

“Oh, Einar, you can’t change it.  None of this is going to change it, including your ultimately dying the way he died, or as close as you can come to replicating it…  Those events are what they are.  We can talk more about the details, and I’ll do that if you want to, anytime you want to, but I don’t think it’s really going to get you anywhere unless at some point you’re willing to forgive yourself.  For what you’ve done, or not done, for what you think you’ve done, all of it.  Christ gave you an example.  He’s done it for you…  And I know you’re capable of forgiveness, because I’ve seen you forgive Bud for chasing you down and using that dart up in the timber, seen you let that go and welcome him into our home, and if I’m not completely out of line in suggesting it, I think you may have even forgiven the guys who were your enemy over there in the jungle.  I’ve never heard you talk about them in a way that would suggest otherwise.”

“Yeah.  Forgiven the enemy many years ago, those guards, the guys who questioned me, even the one we called The Russian.  Got no hate for them, anymore.”

“I know.  I can see that.  So, why can’t you do the same for yourself?”

Silence for a long moment, Einar quite still, no longer shivering.  “Because…I was the only one I had any control of over there, in that situation.  My decisions were my own.  And they’re mine to carry, now.”

Difficult to refute that one, and though she knew she had to try, the time did not seem right.  Einar had somewhere along the way in the telling of the thing lost a bit of that palpable tension which she had felt growing in him and which she had known would ultimately drive him out into the snow, into the storm, and for the time, it was enough, his willingness to stay there with her and continue warming.  He still had to manage to live through the effects of his most recent excursion, if any of the rest of it was to matter, and though he now appeared entirely awake and master of his faculties, she knew it had taken an awful lot out of him, that hurried trip through the snow to check on Bud and Susan, his continued survival no certain thing.  Rest would be good.  Rest, warmth, food when they could get it—a real dilemma at the moment, but not one to be dealt with that night—more discussion in the morning, and warm together in the blanket, they slept.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous08 July, 2013

    Very meaty chapters of late.