The Lost Blessing

Time seems to have frozen. There is always a permanent state of wonder. Leaves continuously fall from the tree during an endless autumn. The days become colder and darker and the piles of decaying leaves surround the doomed tree. There is no wind to carry them away. The tree, however, has to withstand the autumn. It cannot withdraw from the fate that awaits it. The winter that will follow seems like a distant tale told by wanderers who take shelter under the tree. He sat under the tree, counting the falling leaves but if you asked him how many have fallen so far; he would not know. He sat there for what seemed to be forever. The world does not wait. The day came when he finally had to get up from under the tree and continue the walk of life, pretending to never have known the tree and its fate, silently stepping on the decaying leaves on the ground around him. One step at a time, he walked towards his path. A path he had never meant to have taken and did not know where it led. He wonders if it is alright for him to come back and count the falling leaves every once in a while, to see if the autumn has finally transformed into the long-dreaded winter? Perhaps he left a part of himself under the tree. He wonders if the falling leaves will ever stop and the part he left behind will follow the path he took to find him at the end of his journey. Soon he found himself standing in the middle of a never-ending landscape. Vast flat fields over barren land. All around him, he could see nothing but the drying earth and the scorching sun high up in cloudless skies. The rest of his journey has to be through these unforgiving lands. An endless walk which was more taxing on the mind than on his limbs. A weary traveler he has become, yet he cannot turn back and the path he walks is only known and remembered by himself. There are many things one cannot hold on to for a lifetime. Regret is one of these things. But what sort of regret is warranted? I ask this question from myself often. Should you hold yourself responsible for the actions of others? Should you continue to regret and blame yourself for the unfortunate outcomes? At what point do you accept the reality and try to overcome everything that puts you in a state of constant regret? A continuing desolation consumes oneself slowly. Perhaps the most unfortunate lesson I have learned is that only those who have a clear conscience are the ones who are affected by this desolation. The latter has a plethora of justifications for their actions, most of which are illusions behind which they hide while deflecting all responsibility and blame.

The tree was once full of life until one quiet night, during which the ground was silent and there were no stars above. Just a lonely moon, behind the dark clouds peeking down. He sat quietly on the stairs of his porch, as if behind a curtain that drowned all the noise around him. He felt like he was alone, with only the silence to keep him company. It seemed as if time had stopped and everything he cared for no longer mattered. He sat there, staring into the endless night and letting every thought his mind ever carried scream inside his head, for no amount of pain could intimidate him now. In his loss, his heart had started to turn into stone. Life is always full of impediments and difficulties. For him the past year was much like a never-ending storm. A constant, relentless onslaught of difficulties. Of all these troubles, the one that took a toll on him was his failed marriage. He had been lied to, deceived, used, and threatened. But the disintegration of the abusive marriage was not what brought him down. The slandering and constant blackmailing were not what he feared either. He had endured all these storms until this very night. He gazed at the peeking moon and wondered if he will ever see his child. He could fight against everyone and everything to get that chance. But just because he could, he thought deeply and questioned, should he? In many societies and cultures, men lose so much more when a marriage ends. I’m talking about the good men, who are honest, hardworking, sincere, and who go out of their way to make things work. I’m talking about those gentle souls, who repeatedly forgive even after being hurt in every possible way. In the end – they rarely find support. They are left alone and abandoned. They lose material things as well as their mental well-being. They are seen as weak if they try to reach out. They are just expected to bear all the burdens even in death . . . Why?

Time keeps passing. “Today, she would have been a year old,” he whispered to himself. It was past midnight and there was no light around him as he laid still on the bed. Distant sounds of the city were softly breaking the silence around him. He reached for his phone and held it close to his face, letting its bright light pierce his eyes. He stared at the screen, blinking as little as his watery eyes would allow. He kept staring at the phone without moving. There was a cool breeze outside, which was making a soft whistling sound as it passed the slightly open window and danced around his room. He had a profound smile on his face and sleep was long gone from him. He had spent the last year counting days and trying to come to terms with his fate. He spent his time preparing for the day he would see the tree again. It was growing, and soon it would be beautiful and perfect. There was anger inside him. Anger against those who deceived him and took away the tree from him. There was good in him though, for he had forgiven them. He did not seek vengeance. He was strong, but not strong enough to be kept away from the tree; and that was an everlasting torment, designed by those who failed to trap him in their webs. He blinked but his eyes were no longer moist. They were empty, just like the smile he had. He ran a finger across the screen trying to feel her. She looked a lot like him and that always gave a certain comfort to him. He began noticing the breeze and the city noise seemed louder now. “I hope you have the same heart your father has. Wherever you are, and whatever you do, it will guide you, and someday you will find your way back home.” He looked at her beautiful picture on the phone one more time and then put the phone against his chest and closed his eyes. An arduous path, fate has set before him indeed. The kind which relentlessly taxes his spirit and has begun to slowly erode the very seams of his sanity. The deafening cries inside his mind keep him awake and the deception, lies, and manipulation have made their mark on his thoughts. The decision to forgive and not seek retribution has now weakened the once willful patient man. They say that those who leave such matters to faith and goodwill eventually find peace.

Does the father, who withdraws; not because of the unending repression by the ruffians hiding behind their false agenda, but due to his deliberate choice of not separating his daughter from her mother, not deserve better? Or would it have been wiser for him to have unleashed his wrath until he could have had her in his arms? On this path, I have found that a father who withdraws for the sake of his child has a love far greater than the one who does not. I would have never forgiven myself, for letting you be used as leverage by those who sought mischief. I left you in God’s care and I hope you have the same heart as me for you will need it to climb out of the moral-less abyss. I have not been able to sleep properly yet and may never be able to. Whatever you will be told and taught; I can only imagine. You will only hear slander about your father. They will instill hatred inside your heart for him. But he passes his days knowing that there is a God above. He passes his days knowing that his blood runs in your veins.