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Sunday, 13 April 2014

GILLIAN


Gillian was one of the blessed.  She had grown up with loving parents who had never abused her, themselves or each other.  They were good, God loving people unlike the many hypocrites they shared the church pew with.  No, Gillian did not know pain, envy, greed nor vanity.  Her true love of her maker had kept me and my sisters at bay, unable to touch her.  She had blossomed into a beautiful, kind and generous young woman because she had been fed with love and respect her entire life.

She hadn’t suffered the angst that takes over so many teens.  The love and understanding of her mother had guided her through the most awkward years.  Gillian had it all and knew it but that knowledge had not opened the door to my sister, Vanity.  Gillian, despite her good fortune, was not blind to the suffering of others and volunteered with a love and generosity that had given many of  the less fortunate souls in her community hope.  Perhaps my sister, Envy had her way with those who looked upon Gillian from a distance but those who were lucky to get close to Gillian, those whose lives she had touched with her gentle kindness felt only love for the beautiful girl.



She fell in love with her best friend in high school.  She and Brett had grown up together, their parents also best friends.  Brett too had been blessed with many skills.  He was everyone’s hero.  His parents’ hero, he was the straight A student who had never fallen prey to my sister Gluttony, always turning down the drugs and alcohol that many of his friends experimented with.  His high school peers’ hero, he was the star quarterback who led his school team to state championships three years in a row.  He wore responsibility like a badge of honour, never as a burden, so it was no surprise that he joined the armed forces right after graduation.  Yes, he could’ve taken advantage of the many scholarships that were available to him and gone to Harvard, Yale or some other prestigious learning institution but Brett continued along his path of heroism.  Wanting only to fight for liberty, freedom and the basic human rights that his country had afforded him.

Brett rose through the ranks quickly but not because of the cruel viciousness that many of his brothers in arms displayed.  No, Brett captured the attention and admiration of his senior officers due to his compassion and integrity for human life.  He fought to defend his beliefs not to satisfy any kind of bloodlust.  On the rare occasions he was forced to take another’s life, he prayed for their poor souls to be delivered to the glory of their maker. 


My sister Lust had never had her way with Brett either.  She had pushed many whores and prostitutes into his path, whispering in his ear the promise of carnal pleasures.  He had ignored her but not the whores.  Instead of spending his compensation on sex, he would take them one by one to local eateries, putting food in their stomachs and speaking to them of Gillian, his beautiful love at home awaiting his return.  Many understood very little English which only allowed them to understand part of what he would say.  Regardless of the language barriers, they would sit across from the handsome and kind soldier, quelling the growls in their stomachs while listening to the love speak through his deep, gentle voice and their faith in mankind and humanity would be restored for a time.

It was on his leave a year ago when he asked Gillian to be his bride.  He agreed to pick her up at her parents’ home before their date.  She had been helping her mother bake for the church bake sale and flea market.  The church was raising money for a music program.  The priest, a progressive young man, had a bit of a rock and roll history and recognized the power that music held over teens.  He believed by giving troubled teens an outlet through music he could save them from the gangs, guns and drugs that seemed to be taking over their developing psyches. Gillian and her family had great respect for the priest and often volunteered for the programs he was developing.  Gillian herself, an established pianist, had offered to teach keyboards once the program took off.

When Brett arrived at the family home he had an opportunity speak to her parents alone while she freshened up before their dinner date.  She knew something was up when she returned to the study to find her mother flustered and crying and her father beaming like he had just won the lottery.  Her questions were cut short and her puzzled expression turned into one of joy when Brett sank to one knee in front of her with a small box in one hand and took her hand in his other.  Professing his love and respect for her always and forever he asked if she would do him the honour of spending the rest of her life as his partner and wife.  With her heart overflowing with love and her eyes overflowing with tears she nodded and beamed her acceptance.



Gillian had been preparing for the wedding since that beautiful day.  Brett would finish his tour in 6 weeks and they were going to be married within a week of his arrival home.  They would be married in the church that she spent so much of her free time volunteering for.  She hadn’t had to do all the planning alone despite Brett's call to duty overseas.  Her girlfriends and her mother were of great help, aiding in her decisions and making calls and arrangements, taking some of the pressure off of her.  She was also able to get Brett’s input which he gladly and helpfully provided during the moments they were able to spend together through the technology of Skype.

I came to Gillian with the News.  I took my place at her side when two officers rang her doorbell with sympathy in their eyes and voices and told her that her Brett was a hero.  The blood drained from her face along with the smile she had answered the door with.  Her knees buckled and one of the officers, having had the misfortune of delivering similar news to others in the past was ready to catch her.  Gillian managed to keep her consciousness and the two gentlemen helped her into her home and onto her sofa.  Not wanting to know or to even believe them, she still heard her own voice asking them what had happened….how could they be sure?


One of the officers, with the tears he was barely successful at holding back choking his voice explained that Brett had led his men into a building after hearing the screams and cries of children.  It had been an enemy trick….the building was rigged and shortly after entering the building with his troop to investigate, the explosion obviated the structure and all within 50 feet of it.  The group responsible had taken credit.  His eyes and his voice hardened when he explained that the culprits would be sought, found and punished for their murderous deeds. I smiled at my sister, Wrath standing at the officers side.  She did such good work.

I stood in the background knowing I would have to wait for the tears to stem.  Pain isn’t my thing and neither is comfort.  I would watch in the coming days as those close to her would try to offer her comfort but I knew her pain would be too great for her to feel the pittance offerings of sympathy these mortals could give her.   I was patient....I had nothing but time and after the service, when those close to her tried to give her peace with their lies, I was there to speak the truth.

When the progressive young priest took her hand and told her Brett was in a better place, next to God and enjoying the offerings and beauty of heaven, I whispered in her ear, imploring her to use her logic and reason...to ask herself what kind of a glorious God would take him from his true love before they even had a chance to share their lives?  What loving God would allow men to use the cries of children to lead her love, everybody's hero, to his death?  She herself had devoted her entire life to spread His words of love and peace and this was how He thanked her?  I whispered the truth and she accepted it as such.  God was neither good nor glorious.  He was greedy and cruel.  He took what was best in her life and completely abandoned her, leaving her to face her life in pain and loneliness.


When her family and so-called friends gave up, no longer having the fortitude to witness her pain and using the excuse of giving her space, I stayed with Gillian.  I wrapped her in my gown and held her in my cold arms, weighing her down, making it impossible for her to even leave her bed.  When I did allow her to rise, I only gave her the strength to make it as far as the sofa and turn on the television.  She didn’t watch it, she was no longer able to see through the numbness I had placed on her.  She just sat with a blank stare as scenes of the games shows flashed from the ghastly box non-stop throughout the day and into the night. She didn't notice the fat housewives on the screen, jiggle as the jumped up and down, grabbing at the coiffed game-show hosts - most likely the only excitement in their miserable excuse for what they called their lives.  It was obvious to me that my sisters Gluttony and Greed had been busy.

When my logic affected her to the point of complete compliance I allowed her to fill her bathtub with water.   The steam rose, but was not enough to warm the chill in her heart as she stripped off the rags she had been wearing for days.  Her body, thin and pale from the lack of food, exercise and fresh air was barely a shadow of the beauty she had been just a few weeks earlier.  As she entered the water, completely numb and unseeing, she did not witness me bid my mistress, Death Maiden to enter with her beloved Scythe.  Perhaps it wouldn't have made a difference if she did see, her mind was as broken as her heart and she was ready.  Scythe, always thirsty, trembled with anticipation at the sight of the pale and beautiful wrists of my lovely emaciated Gillian.



Gillian did not see Scythe nip at her wrists, drawing the crimson forth and drinking deeply before stepping back to allow Gillian’s own heart to betray her once again and pump her life from her body….she saw only the image I placed in her head.  The image of the box cutters she had purchased months ago in her hand.  She had bought the knife for the purpose of opening the wedding packages that had started arriving before Brett was taken from her, but it was useless for that purpose now.  She placed the cold blade against her skin.  She watched with little interest or care as it opened each wrist lengthwise, ensuring the arteries were cut.  She lay back in the tub, the water quickly turning bright red with her blood as it drowned  every last bit of her emptiness and despair.


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