The Light In The Abyss Part 2
The Light In The Abyss Part 211 mins 21K 11 mins 21K
My second encounter with him occurred through my misfortune…
To be honest, I didn’t really like the piano that much. But I played it, because it made my aunt, my cousin and my mom happy. My mom was always yelling, and she’d only quiet down when she was listening to me playing the piano. So I played for her sake…
For fourteen years, I had a secret that I couldn’t tell anyone. I don’t know why I confessed all the sorrow that had collected inside my chest to him back then. Was it because I was drunk? Because I thought he was going to die, anyway? Or because I thought that he was the same person as me?
I was walking down the corridor of the college. My shift had just been over, and it was time for me to head back to home. The afternoon sunrays were bright enough to light up the corridor from the only window.
I turned back to see one of my colleagues walking towards me. He then stood before me. “You’re going home already?”
“Yes, I’m just a part-time lecturer; I don’t work as long as others”
“Well, if you’re up for it, would you like to go for some drinks? I found a bar with a great atmosphere. Every now and then, they bring in a pianist too…
Oh, that reminds me, you used to play the piano too, right? I heard you were really popular. I was hoping I could hear you play.”
I felt a sharp stab in my heart. “I am never playing the piano again! I have to go!” My voice was reflecting the pain which I carried all these years.
“Eh… wait… Ms. Elena” He tried to stop me, but I walked away from the place. The painful memories which I had buried deep inside my heart resurfaced, piercing my heart, hurting me one again.
I hid myself behind a classroom… and broke down…
The next morning I got to know that Aunt had got injured in a rather unpleasant incident, and had been admitted to hospital. I immediately went to the hospital. It was evident from the bandages that she had fractured her right leg. I guessed the ‘incident’ behind the leg fracture.
“You were bound to break a leg at some point. You never let up, and you are already 70. How far are you planning to go for him?”
“They say can’t move around for a few weeks… It’s pretty sad…”
“Ok then, I’ll be leaving.” “Already?”
“If I stay here for long, I feel I’ll get roped into doing too much.”
“Because of you… I looked up that prisoner on the Internet yesterday.
He pushed a mother and a child onto the tracks at a railway station, and they were run over. And then he took their umbrella and stabbed a nearby young passenger to death… He killed three people I an instant in that murder spree.
There were also details of his horrible past, but…
Is he the only unfortunate in the world? If you pardon the things that unfortunate people do then what of the people killed by his selfish acts? And the people who say he should be the one killed?
The only people, who can imagine the end of the downward spiral, are the people who live outside that vortex, blissfully ignorant.
But I guess there are people like you in it, too…”
“Elena, that man doesn’t have anyone.”
“Forget it. I’m not going to see that man again. Take care.” I started to walk off the room.
“So you’re telling me you didn’t need me at all, Elena…? Abandoning him as it suits you makes you the same as the person you hate.”
I stopped at the door, trying hard to hold back my tears. “If…
If I’d only jumped from a building instead of cutting my wrist, or drank sulfuric acid instead of taking in sleeping tablets…
You were the reason I didn’t choose better ways to kill myself. The thought that there’s actually someone who would miss you, or grieve over your death… made my heart ache…
Fin. I’ll go see him. But in exchange, pray for me sometimes, too…
Pray that I won’t want to kill myself anymore.”
I didn’t have the courage to see her. But I could feel her smile from behind. “I can’t do that in exchange…
I’ve been praying for that this entire time…
Elena, you have to come to forgive, as well. Not for anyone else’s sake… but for your own…”
Every once in a while, there was something I can’t help but think about. My elderly aunt will surely die before I do, right…? When that happens, how should I live my life?
Will I be able to stand alone, without losing it…?
I was in the visitor’s room now, facing Adam. The only thing that separated us was the glass wall. The warden was sitting on Adam’s side, just to make sure nothing goes wrong.
The silence in the room was too heavy, and I had to break it. “Err… Um… I didn’t think that you’d come today, since my last visit didn’t go so well…”
He didn’t say anything. The silence was about to fall again, but the warden spoke.
“Oh, no. Thank you for visiting in the sister’s place while she recovers. I was just about to give up on hanging any visitors today. Adam’s really happy about it too, right? Um… that’s right! That reminds me, Ms. Elena.
You used to play the piano, didn’t you?”
No… not that again…
“Well, you see, I used to be a big fan of yours. Back then, I listened to your music again and again.”
“Th… Thank you…” I forced these words out, amidst the pain building up in me.
“I’d really love to hear it again. I was surprised when you suddenly retired. Everyone had such great expectations for you, too…
Why did you do it?”
No! Not the same question!! My heart had sunk in the enormous pain of memories. I lost control on my anger. I got up from the chair.
“Ms… Ms. Elena?”
“I will never play the piano again!! If my aunt hadn’t asked me to, I’d have never come to a place like this…”
“P… Please don’t say that. What happened, Ms. Elena?”
I got back to my senses. I realized I had said something that shouldn’t have been.
“I… I’m sorry…”
“Hmm…” The grin on Adam’s face surprised me. The warden acted fast. “Adam…”
“So you’re the same as that nun after all… Forcing your good intentions on others, but all the while just wanting to bask in your superiority?
Go home, princess. Do you want me to thank you for coming out here to see me or something?”
He stood up and started to walk out of the room. I had to speak. I had to say that what he has thought was wrong. “I’m… I mean my aunt isn’t that kind of person.
The truth is, if she hadn’t been pushed by one of your victim’s relatives today, and hurt her leg…”
Adam stopped in the middle of the room. I continued. “My aunt wanted to understand what you did, even the slightest amount -”
The warden stopped me in the middle. “Please don’t discuss his crime here…”
But it was late. Adam collapsed on the floor, and the warden ran to him. “Adam! It’s okay. It’s okay, calm down…”
But he was kneeling on the floor, with tears running without a pause and forming a small pool on the floor. He kept on repeating these words for a while until he calmed down –
The next day I had taken a break from the college and was sleeping in my room. I would have slept for the whole day if not for the ringtone of my cell phone. I got up with a small headache. The hangover from the previous night drinks had not subsided. In the dreamy, half-drunk state, I answered the call.
“It’s only afternoon and you’re drunk already?”
“What is it, brother? What do you want?” He got a little irritated at my lazy replies.
“Don’t give me that. How many times did you let the phone ring? You’re going to show up for Mom’s birthday, right?”
“Oh right. Tat’s today. I’m not going”
Anyway, I’m coming to get you. You can’t drive while you’re drunk, can you?”
“Wait. Forget it. I’m not -”
The phone hung up.
We arrived at Mom’s house. As soon as we rang the doorbell, the maid opened the door. My brother stepped forward. “Where’s Mom?”
“She’s sleeping upstairs”
“Huh? But it’s past three already”
“Actually the tutor dropped by yester night…” “The tutor?”
“Elena’s piano tutor”
I felt a heavy weight falling on me. The next moment, I was sinking in the dark sea of memories. All the harsh and painful memories appeared again. The piano keys… the tutor… his hands as he played the piano… that incident… and my Mom’s voice “No matter how many times you say it… No one’s going to believe you!”
The one… who’s lying… is you, mother.
“Elena!! What are you doing!?”
I snapped back to the present by my brother’s voice. It took a moment for me to realize what I was doing. I was on my mother’s bed, with my hands on her throat…
If he was a second late, I would have…
He came forward and pushed me aside. “Mom! Are you okay, Mom?” He rushed to her, who was grasping her breath. I looked at my shivering hands. What was I about to do? The thought itself scared me.
I ran out of the room… out of the house… with tears running from my eyes along the cheek. I didn’t know where I was heading to… I didn’t know what I was doing anymore… I was just… lost.
The snow had started to fall, but I had no conscious of it. Thoughts… regret… sorrow… My mind was too busy with these.
Mom… Mom…Are you still angry… because it’s my fault that you can’t play the piano anymore…?
Do you hate me that much…?
When I finally realized where I was, “Why am I here?” was the only question that popped up. Here I was, in the visiting room of the penitentiary, all drenched in snow, half-drunk, sitting on the floor in despair. Though I didn’t lift my head up, I knew Adam and Warden Smith were standing next to me.
A train of words surfaced, and I was in no position to curb them.
“I came because I didn’t understand… why someone like me, who wants to kill so badly, is running free… while someone like you, who trembles and begs for forgiveness, is locked up in here…
Just a few weeks… before I met you… I tried to kill myself for the third time…
My mother was a famous pianist… but she was forced to give it up after giving birth to me… To try and make up for it, even a little, I played the piano everyday for her since I was little…
But I… I…
I was raped… by my piano tutor.
I told my mom, but… she didn’t believe me at all. She hated shameful things like that, and silenced me… She told me to lie and say it didn’t happen… and to live my life like that…
No matter how much I played the piano, it wasn’t enough to make it up to her… Since then, I haven’t played the piano.”
I stood up, and bowed before them. “I get emotional during the day sometimes… and say cruel things. I’m sorry…”
The warden came in front of me. “Oh… no, I should be the one to apologize… I didn’t know anything, yet I…”
“To this day, I live on hatred towards my mother…
My aunt, who lives such a humble life, couldn’t let me go on like this, so she asked me to meet with the convicts who had no future… But I…
I don’t believe that there really are any pure-hearted clergy in the world. They’re convinced that their words can turn sadistic convicts into angels. I want no part of their behavior…”
I looked at Adam, who was now standing before me. “I… don’t like you… but I don’t hate you either. That’s because what I do know about you… was just exaggerated to entertain and written by someone on the outside.
I don’t have room to empathize with other people… If I come here, it’s to get something and leave…
But if everyone I cross is going to be polite on the outside, and just say pretty things to mask their true feelings, I don’t need it.
If you… would talk with me… I don’t want to hear any lies… I intend to speak frankly with you. I hate unfairness…”
For the first time, I saw a smile on Adam’s face. “When I entered the orphanage, the director told me this – ‘Don’t worry. Everyone here is equally bad off…’ Those guys didn’t get it. The moment you say you’re bad off, equality no longer applies…
You’re really an odd one… To wait… to pick a prisoner, and one on a death row, to talk without bias…
Odd… weirdo, bigot…”
Even I smiled a bit. “People often call me that behind my back…”
There was a knock on the door behind, and another warden entered. “I’m sorry but visiting hours are over.”
“Ah, okay…” I got up and headed towards the door. “I’m sorry… for showing up all of a sudden…”
As I was about to make my way out of the room, I heard Adam’s voice. “Next Thursday, at 10 am”
I stopped and turned back. He continued. “If I’m still alive, please stop by. I also… would like to talk…
<to be continued>