“I Forgive You” (A short story) By Kenneth Lee Averiett

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”

“Hey, can we talk?”

I wish I had the courage. Not just the courage, but the mere ability to confront discomfort in any capacity. That deep, touching,and  emotional moment where eye contact is required, expected, and the concluding heart to heart discussion that follows about a totally preventable event, makes my insides feel like the equivalent of jello. All sticky & heavy.

I say preventable; As if that one simple word can encapsulate a possibility that this event could have been prevented (which is a falsehood). Nothing can prevent this measure of the heart’s yearning.

But I digress. This could have been prevented if I were a robot.

Yes, a robot. An impassive, unreadable, and apathetic bloke with absolutely zero chance of getting hurt.

But now, I have to dig deep & forgive someone. And that makes me uncomfortable, because I happen to be a pretty big pansy.

The idea of opening myself up emotionally even for the full five minutes required by some unwritten logic repulses me & quite honestly, scares the shit out of me. I mean, this is why I’m here in the first place.

I am not like this normally, mind you. I used to be exquisite. Innocent by every stretch. Unspoiled. I was ignorant, & untouched before the perversions of love tainted me. It showed me the harsh reality of loving & giving until I could not love or give anymore. Getting dog shit handed back to me. Dog shit smeared all over more dog shit, smeared over some marshmallows & a cheap Walgreens gift card, because hey, at least they tried right?

“Hey, can we talk?”

Those dreaded words that turn your insides sour. You know the feeling. The unexpected potential of heartbreak or bad news.

This kind of shit doesn’t happen to robots.

But alas, it is I that has to do this to someone else. But it isn’t heartbreak or bad news that I’m going to inflict on this person. Hopefully, rather a new found freedom. A weight lifted off of their shoulders, so when they finally upend the courage to stand (or sit), & look me in the eyes, shame & discomfort will cease (I hope) & we can start anew (again, more hoping.)

“Hey, can we talk?”

*gulp*

I have to forgive you. As much as I would love to sit & stew in my feelings, & let them compost into hatred & apathy, I cant. It’s apart of this “Hey look at the new & improved me with my capacity for straightforward honesty & shiny new forgiving nature!” The former would be so much easier. SO. MUCH. EASIER.

As I sit here, wading through my thoughts, cataloging what I should say or do, over & over again, I hear the familiar jangle of keys unlock the brown, wooden front door. The door slides open, barely because the beige carpet underneath the door is no longer beige carpet, but black electrical tape haphazardly repairing the damage done by one “Buddy The Dog” in a fit of separation anxiety. Poor guy.

As you open the door, I feel my heart leap into my throat. You know the feeling. My muscles relax, & tense up at the same time. My breathing sort of stops, sort of doesn’t. My mouth is open, but my jaw still clenches. I’m not sure how any of that is possible, or if I’m recounting my bodily responses accurately.

“Hi.”

“Hey.”

At this moment I can feel the muscles around my face weaken, especially around my eyes, that exact split second before the tears start. Oh, the tears…

I fight them. I fight, & struggle, & strangle them with every ounce of my character.

Oh, sweet fucking lord I wish I was a goddamn robot!

*Breathes deeply*

“Can we talk?”

I slide my left hand off of my left thigh, & pat the bright red couch cushion to my left side. A clear invitation to sit. To join me. To get…close.

Someone in the room clears their throat.

“Sure…?”

“That sounded more like a question than anything,” I think to myself. The uncertainty that filled the word “sure” makes me wholly regret my attempt to be the bigger person. But its too late now.

It is too late because I’m in love, & love makes you do all sorts of out of character things. Love is why I’m here, & love is why I’m doing this. Love is why I’m eschewing heartbreak, & looking discomfort in the eyes.

Love is why I need to… no, want to be the bigger person. So I will.

This is the first step to truly loving myself.

I hear bags full of random clothes, possessions, objects that were familiar things here at one time- drop to the floor. The couch sinks in to my left a bit, & I turn to look discomfort & shame right in the eyes…

“I forgive you.”

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