Sunday, August 6, 2017
Chapter 28: The Sea of Regrets
Mac Crieche was an old man. It was now many years since his visit to the lost Daradanian people. He looked out over the Eastern sea that frosty morn, as he often did. Fog hung over the land, as it often did, watering the pungeant turf, if not by rain, then by general sogginess.
"Thinkin' about th' old times?" said his the voice of his wife with a lilt she'd picked up somewhere along the way.
Mac Crieche nodded without turning. "Aye. Lot of adventures."
She looked up at him and tried to get something more from his glistening eyes. They spoke volumes, but in a language she couldn't read.
"Ye never made it to the Holy City. Ever regret turnin' back?"
"Mmm." came the non-committal answer.
That may or may not be true, she decided, but surin' there's something more.
She watched the wind crawl across the emerald sward and listened to the sea crash against the rocks below. 'Tis a fine land. she thought.
As the sea kept up its relentless pounding, another thing came to mind. She said it before thinking the better of it. "Ever regret turnin' back?"
It still could have been about Jerusalem, but they both knew it wasn't.
"The idol of En." he replied. This time a low heaviness in his voice told the wife that she was on the right track.
He turned to look at her, and she noticed a tear running down his opposite cheek.
"The angel - the one from th' vision - he was right," he continued, "I had a choice t' make, and because o' my decision, the heathen god is still out there somewhere.
"I shudder to think of if Sharon, but who knows what terrors tha' abomination still has in store for future generations?"
"God knows." she said simply.
It was true, of course. Mac Crieche knew it. From the vision, there was to be another that would complete the task he'd started. But he also had seen the flames and the untold devastation that would come of his decision.
Mrs Mac Criechie reached out to his arm.
She had a question on her mind. It was something that had been plaguing her from time to time ever since very night she and the other believers had left her people in the clutches of En. Thirty long years she'd kept it bottled up. She feared it.
Yet now, in the wake of her admonition that, 'God knows', what else could she do but say it aloud? Could she really, in good conscience, ask her husband to rely on the providence of God to govern the universe, when she, herself, refused to let things happen for fear of the outcome?
"Mac Crieche?" she asked, barely audible.
"Yes, m' dear."
"Do you ever regret your decision? Do you ever regret... us?"
He looked away from her, back to the sea.
Silence crashed like the waves.
This was the moment she'd been dreading for decades. Was she about to find out that his life with her was a choice he regretted? Was she about to learn that her entire life and all she now held dear was nothing but a wrong decision he counted upon his ledger?
A lone gull made a shrill cry, making a lazy circle back out to sea.
Mac Crieche, for his part, knew her well enough by now to know exactly how she must be feeling. He knew how the silence must be torture for her, but the truth would be worse. Yet he would have to tell the truth, that, though he loved her more than ever, he still regretted leaving En standing. If he had it to do all over again...?
But then a high-pitched squeal of delight knocked him free from his inner turmoil.
He spun to see his granddaughter running across the meadow toward him. Her parents walked calmly hand-in-hand, but the four-year-old couldn't restrain herself that long and ran to him with outstretched arms.
Little Sharon, they called her. Like the rose. And what a rose, she was! Sweeping her up in his arms, he spun her around like a man half his age.
When he finally placed her back on solid ground, he was weeping again. This time not out of regret for what he had lost, but for joy of what he had gained.
Through tear-streaked eyes, he said, "Mrs Mac Criche, if I had it to do all over again..."
Her hand flew to her mouth to cover up a ghasp.
"...I'd choose you."