meena iyer

Guilt is a mistress one can ill afford to have. Like the cloying smell of perfume that overpowers your senses long after that person has left. Guilt lingers. Until you finally surrender to it.

Guilt. It visited me once.With sunken eyes, wrinkled skin and crumpled body. It slouched through the pathway and hopefully stared into my eyes. Through a pitiful old man. That look still haunts me. Like a broken record stuck in the middle, his words still echo in my ears. Gripped with shame and inexpressible fear, I turned around and never looked back. I feigned a helplessness that marked me for life.

I wish it was not so. Wishes. Why is it that we fill our lives with wishes that can never come true? And then pepper it with regrets and suddenly find that the dish is not to our liking!

It was such an glorious day. A day of possibilities. Why can't it be a morose rainy day? For that would make it easier to accept. Easier to deal with what was meant to be rather what was not. But no. It was a lovely spring morning. Birds chirping, flowers blooming, bathed in golden sunshine. Summer time. 

This visit was long overdue. I looked forward to it since that first day. And was a bit worried too. How would I face him? What would I tell. Can I be impervious to the blame, to the accusation that would definitely lurk in his eyes. Its his eyes that always troubled me and has done so ever since. Honest eyes that never held back its emotions. It was meant for his own good. As if I knew what is good and what is not. 

Why is it that we think we know ? Who are we do decide anyways? 

I went.  I looked. And guilt clenched my throat choking me. Until no thought remained but shame. And yet I didn't relent.

The hope left those eyes slowly as I slipped past the gate and the gate shut behind me. I didn't look back.  

He must have stood there waiting for me to return.  Days merged into weeks and weeks into months. I never returned. I didn't have the courage to look into those eyes and see the need, see the hope and then see the light darken into nothingness. A trust was broken. A heart was wounded.  For his own good.

A check signed promptly. Few letters written that went unread. Reports followed assiduously. Calls made promptly. Can these assuage my guilt? That sharp pain in my guts that wrenched them clean ? Can it? 

Guilt visited me once again. Six months later. I returned too. It was too late then. The eyes was no longer there. Those wrinkled sunken eyes of my father. Those honest eyes forever closed in permanent repose.

The gate closed yet again. 

This time I lingered awhile trying to find shades of him in the setting sun. Trying to catch the elusive smell in the passing breeze. When a stray leaf wrapped itself on me, I tried to find traces of his touch. The board said "XYZ Mental Institution"

A simple non decorative planck

I never could find him. Guilt. It stays with me now like he never could. 





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11 Responses
  1. Nave Says:

    Thought provoking write and thoughtful indeed !! .. am speechless .. dont have anything else to say except May God Bless !! :)

    Just one thing .. Guilt, regret has one more name Conscience and one must be true to it.. Nice story !!


  2. maald Says:

    "The memory of an event cannot pass for the event itself. Nor the anticipation. There is something exceptional, unique, about the present event, which the previous, or the coming do not have. There is a livingness about it, an actuality, a stamp of reality; it stands as if illumined.

    What gives the present that 'stamp of reality'? Obviously, my presence. I am real for I am always now, in the present, and what is with me now shares in my reality."


  3. --xh-- Says:

    an ode to guilt?

    well written as usual :)


  4. rahul Says:

    beautifully written..the last line captured the essence of the story!!


  5. Yogesh Says:

    No words to describe...

    Very beautifully captured the emotions...


  6. Archy Says:

    I do not really know. This touched too many strings deep within. It rang a bell inside me and I ve read this post of yours around five times and every time i read, I felt myriad emotions.

    "I never could find him. Guilt. It stays with me now like he never could. "

    Your best! !
    And thank you for posting this:-)


  7. R.V Says:

    It was an amazing read... Reminded me of some1. Stirred some weird emotion within me. Regret and guilt meshed together!


  8. Biju Mathews Says:

    I really don't know if I need to sympathize on the content of the post or to compliment you on the amazing write-up.

    All I would like to say is, take care. God Bless!

    Keep Blogging!!


  9. Thank you everyone for the compliments :)

    @biju its umm fiction :D

    R.V : Too true isnt it? We do things that we think are for good and yet we are left with regret!

    Archy.. am feeling glad that I cud make you feel all those feelings.. hope you never have to in real life :)

    Yogesh thank you!!

    Rahul yes! Anoop yeah kinda.. thank you :D :D

    Nave I disagree to that. I dont believe that conscience should be um slave to regrets and guilt.. its like condemning oneself the life full of misery for guilt brings nothing but that!

    @maald yes you are right.. but without shadow of past and pathway to future will the present picture be complete?


  10. meena this was so beautiful, the threads of guilt being twirled, unfolded and feltv with bare fingers......


  11. Thank you Meenakshi!! :)