Forgiveness



He saw her before she saw him. He knew that back anywhere, the curve of her spine, her black hair pulled back and twisted into that strange bun of hers. It had to be her, even though he had not seen her for more than ten years, he was sure it was her.

“Maureen?”

He reached out to touch her but then he hesitated…his hesitation meant the woman turned around before he could put his hand back to his side. For a moment or two, it seemed his hand would remain indefinitely in mid air…but it did not…it found its way back to his pocket and for that the man was glad, he did not want the woman to see his sweaty palm.

“Joe…Joe Macauley…hi…”

“So…there you have it…finally…what did you think?” he asked.

“It was beautiful, beautifully violent. You should be very proud”

“You did not think it was too much?

“Delightfully, so”

“Did you like the last scene? I keep thinking there was something missing…”

“Isn’t there always something?

“Yeah.I don’t know…”

There was a silence that had always been there, one that had always been theirs…ten years ago and Maureen would have tried to fill it with a joke or a witty comment but that night, she let it settle over them like a comfortable fog.

“So, I see you’re back huh?” she asked the question in that sneering way she adopted when she knew she was right…he knew she was saying “I won”. Her stare was unflinching as she draped a black shawl carelessly around her shoulders. She was the only woman he knew who could do this…stare at somebody so resolutely whilst performing another action.

“Yeah. I needed to get this done. I am surprised I am here…I never expected this…I just wanted to get it done”

“Well, I am not surprised. I believed in you”

“Yeah, you always did”

She looked down at her shoes before looking casually around, as if expecting someone.

“So, where’s Yvonne?”

“Oh….we are divorced now…almost five years”

“I see….did you ever get your team of little Macauleys?”

Joe laughed, he could see she was trying hard not to, he wanted her to laugh too, but she kept a straight face.

“Yeah, I did, twin boys and a little girl…they are with their mother…I am afraid I became that kind of dad…”

“The one you always detested becoming….Well...that’s life”

Again the silence enveloped them, as they starred at each other, each trying to assess the damage age had done or perhaps they were remembering the days of their youth, when optimism and a desire for change had made them embark on journeys that weren’t theirs. The days when they ate and breathed the street. Every life mattered; every story had to be told.

“I have been so proud of you Maureen, you’ve done well…I read the last book, it was great…many times I wanted to call you…and say that ”

“Why didn’t you?”

“I don’t know. I was not sure if you have forgiven me…have you?”

“So what happened with law? Was it all that you dreamed it would be?”

He knew she was avoiding the question….the question of forgiveness. That night, so many years ago, she had looked him straight in the eye and said “I will never forgive you!” It was a night he would never forget, a night that changed both their lives forever…he wished now, he had handled things differently.

“Law….it puts food on the table, bread and butter…but no, it was not all I dreamed it would be….and you, your writing?

“It is all I dreamed and more….much more than you can ever imagine”

“I am happy for you Maureen. Truly I am…I just wish…”

“Wish what?”

“I wish...no, forget it...nothing...well, congratulations....” he said, looking knowingly at her huge stomach.

“Yeah...due any day now...”

“Really? Wow! And what the hell are you doing here? You should be home, with your feet up”

“And miss your premier? Never!”

“I hoped you will come…I wanted you to be here…it is as much yours as it is mine”

“You did it Joe, your grandma would be proud”

“Will you ever forgive me Maureen?”

“I see you put a new scene in...the one with the pregnant woman...fits right in doesn’t it? You’ve always been good at that…reflecting fucking reality....”

“Maureen please! When you said you were pregnant…I thought of my dad… I was just sick of everything you know…the streets, the constant fighting…for what? To prevent what? Who the fuck did we help?...we were both young…hell…all we had was our youth…and to spend it fighting for a bunch of worthless junkies…and you…you were so beautiful…so young…I got scared. I did not want to become my father…and every day, no matter what I did…the street was taking its toll… all I thought of was becoming like my father…or ending up like my mother…I hate myself for what I did to you…everyday, I have hated myself”

“You are not your father, you never were and you never will be”

He just wanted her to say the words “I forgive you, Joe, I forgive you”....instead, she was now reaching into her bag and showing him a picture of her first son.

“How is he?”

“Joseph is fine. He is doing great”

“I am so sorry Maureen, so sorry”

“Like I said, I will never forgive you”

He watched her walk away; he watched the great love of his life disappear with the picture of his first child in her bag. He watched her kiss another man on the cheek and it was only then he noticed the piece of paper....

“Maybe, someday...” it said.

Forgive Not Forget - Laleh

41 Comments:

  1. SMC said...
    FIRST AGAIN. IT ISN'T EVEN THE 15TH OF JUNE YET.
    Anonymous said...
    Depends on your time zone...
    naijalines said...
    This strikes a chord... Bravo!
    omidanbellafricaine said...
    Wait is it 15th already still I cant believe I am not even top three @ SMC do you live on this blog?
    SMC said...
    Right! How do I begin this? Now, I'm sure it would be agreed by everyone that Naapali was going to be a tough act to follow and unfortunately, this instalment to me can be compared to bread which had no yeast put in it before it was baked - i.e. it has failed to rise to the occasion. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not a like for like comparison of stories with any of the other writers. I am judging this story on its own merits (and I have not seen many).

    This instalment strangely lacks distinct coherence and fluidity despite telling a tale of sorts. There are many issues I found troubling in this write-up (as if the writer expects the readers to second guess his intentions or events/occurrences). For example, I found it queer that despite the fact that Joe and Maureen (from their dialog) were not supposed to have spoken in ages, they had spoken reasonably recently enough for Maureen to have relayed to Joe the fact that she was pregnant (a fact he incorporated in his movie or documentary or whatever was premièring). Another annoying thing that niggled away at me was the Maureen’s initial reaction to Joe. I don’t care what anyone says, I doubt anyone will say “Joe…Joe Macauley…” (or whatever other name in such fashion) to the father of their child like they had forgotten his existence prior to the chance encounter (especially if the person was the reason they were at an occasion in the first place). Sure, it may be argued that she was trying to act coolly/coldly towards Joe but based on her utterances, she did not need to.

    I could go on and on, but I don’t want to. I’m not saying this story is bad, but then it isn’t particularly good.
    Shubby Doo said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    30+ said...
    Well I made top 10

    @SMC you are a winch, you no dey sleep
    Toluwa Lase said...
    #8...but not so into this installment...nice story line, but dts all...nice.
    Shubby Doo said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Anonymous said...
    all the other stories are part of a film that has just had its premier and Joe is probably the charcter Naapali created.
    and they are at the premier of the movie. The film is probably 14th and serenity. Can you all be that dumb?

    waffy, am I right?
    Anonymous said...
    @anon 03:41 you are kidding right?...plus there is no need to be rude. oh and the other thing is naapali's nameless character was a woman...naapali said so himself in the comment section...nice try but no cigar!
    Anonymous said...
    @anonymous 3:53 lol you really are dumb.
    Waffarian said...
    @smc:

    Thanks for your feedback. Since I want the readers to interprete the story for themselves and enjoy their own experience, I am not going to explain why, how or what I meant by what I wrote. However, I will point out that the "problems" you mentioned, have been generated by you, and not me.

    You write:

    "For example, I found it queer that despite the fact that Joe and Maureen (from their dialog) were not supposed to have spoken in ages, they had spoken reasonably recently enough for Maureen to have relayed to Joe the fact that she was pregnant (a fact he incorporated in his movie or documentary or whatever was premièring)"

    In no where in the story did I ever mention them not having "heard" from each other. The verb I used, was "seen".The fact that they had not seen each other for ten years does not mean they had not spoken. Also, in no place did I ever say that Maureen's pregnancy was the one in the scene...you made that conclusion yourself.

    Also, you say:

    "Another annoying thing that niggled away at me was the Maureen’s initial reaction to Joe. I don’t care what anyone says, I doubt anyone will say “Joe…Joe Macauley…” (or whatever other name in such fashion) to the father of their child like they had forgotten his existence prior to the chance encounter (especially if the person was the reason they were at an occasion in the first place)

    Again, in no where did I indicate that it was a "chance meeting" between two people. As for saying his name that way...if you personally do not like the way she said his name, that is another matter but the world is too big for you to be absolutely sure nobody talks like that.However, since you do not care, that hardly matters so I will take it as something that just does not appeal to your taste.

    Finally, I will take into account your points about fluidity and coherence. That is something that I am constantly working on and i doubt if I ever will be satisfied.

    Once again, thanks for reading and sharing your opinions.

    @ anons

    Please, feel free to read this story as you please. It is your right as a reader to take whatever meaning you want from it. There is no right or wrong.Hence Naapali's comment does not affect this story in any way.
    smc said...
    On the pregnancy issue, point taken. I hold my hands up to admit that I probably read it wrong but again from the dialog, it will be reasonable to INFER that the scene incorporated either her earlier pregnancy (which resulted in their joint child) or this one. Nevertheless, point taken.

    However, on the issue of not having heard from each other over the years, I do not believe that this is a problem in my mind or which I created as it is clear that that is exactly what was portrayed in your story (again through the dialog) e.g. she never knew he had kids, she did not know he had been divorced for about 5 years. Moreover, he said he had thought of calling her many times but had never done so because he did not know if she had forgiven him. Surely it can be safely be inferred or concluded that they had NOT been in contact (despite you not overtly saying so).

    Let's agree to differ on the protocol to be adopted when calling an exe's name.

    Finally, thank you for nevertheless addressing the points raised.
    naijalines said...
    @ Waffarian, I concur sista. You don't have to explain yourself to anyone. Any literary effort or piece of writing is always subject to interpretation. That's part of the beauty of writing for me.

    BTW, My 'interpretation'? Good job you've done! Certainly one of the ones I've most enjoyed reading.
    Naapali said...
    Waffy, this was very original and very you. I confess to having to isolate myself in a room and reading afresh, keeping in mind your style to finally get it. I enjoyed it.

    @ anon 3:53. In my mind that person was a woman, but in my mind only, I never was explicit and from the comments of many others on that story it could easily have been a man. The experience has helped me evaluate the gender I assign to nameless narrators in the stories I have read, I find I assign genders based more on that of the writer (if known) or assume they are male (my own gender bias). Waffy and everyone else are free to assign whatever gender they choose to this character based on their own experience/preference.
    Naapali said...
    What I liked most about this story is its take on the classic Greek tragedy.

    Joe Macauley is afraid of becoming his father, so he dumps his young pregnant girlfriend. She ends up raising the child in the absence of its father. Joe Macauley becomes that which he dreads most, the absent father. He becomes his father (short of the homicidal tendency). Greek tragedies have survived through the ages because they capture our fears and weaknesses so well.
    Nogo said...
    TOP 20!!! :D I'll be back...
    SOLOMONSYDELLE said...
    ooh, I liked it. Great job, Waffy!
    Patrice said...
    Using the trailer as the credits to the "14th And Serenity: The Movie" is brilliant! You cleverly found a way of connecting all the stories without actually telling us how they are connected. And with that accomplished, but not discarded, you developed your story. I was wondering in what "Waffarian blog style", if any, you would write in and if you would even finish what you started, rather then leave us hanging, as you so often do on your blog. This story bore your watermark. As Napaali pointed out, you tapped into our insecurites, but in your uniquely nuanced and sensitive way.
    UndaCovaSista said...
    I enjoyed reading this, and it's obvious the reader is meant to draw their own inferences....it's nice not to be spoon-fed sometimes. Nice piece
    Jarrai said...
    I like it...nice job. Well done to you...you lot got skills...keeping the whole of blogsville thoroughly ENTERTAINED!!!
    Mocha said...
    Great job Waffie..I enjoyed the dialougue..
    Baroque said...
    @Waffarian, now that was quite a story, was tight with maturity, i loved it...the convo was deep & so was the suspense...please do we get to hear exactly what he did to her?...BRAVO

    ...btw, did all you confoozeez (esp Anons) miss the line in the ad that says, WHERE STORIES COLLIDE ???...open your mind, soft your mind (like Asa says) & enjoy the individuality of the stories...if you jump, you will never believe
    Anonymous said...
    Waffarian- "Since I want the readers to interprete the story for themselves and enjoy their own experience.I am not going to explain why, how or what I meant by what I wrote"

    This is not a good defense. As much as readers do not wish to be spoon-fed, it shouldn't be taken for granted that readers can automatically grasp the inner nuances of a story that a writer is trying to convey.

    That is one of the hardest tasks of a writer - to make readers see through the writer's eyes without question.

    Unfortunately, there were one too many gaps left unfilled in this story for that goal to be achieved, and this defense comes across as, no pun intended, defensive.
    Anonymous said...
    Continued by Anon 12.45

    Note that I am not saying that writers don't at times leave things up to the imagination of their readers. However, that technique just did not work here.
    OluwaDee said...
    I liked this piece.
    Simple and on point.
    Waffarian said...
    @anon 12:45-This is not a good defense. As much as readers do not wish to be spoon-fed, it shouldn't be taken for granted that readers can automatically grasp the inner nuances of a story that a writer is trying to convey.


    I totally agree with you. I do have the ability to be so into my own story that I forget the readers. Like I said earlier, I am working on it.


    "That is one of the hardest tasks of a writer - to make readers see through the writer's eyes without question"

    Without question? Even the writer knows before he finishes the story that there will be MANY questions the readers will have(no pun intended).I am unaware of any such reader that has successfully been able to see exactly what the writer had in mind. I have never been able to achieve that but hey...if you have, then congratulations. Not an easy feat.

    "Unfortunately, there were one too many gaps left unfilled in this story for that goal to be achieved, and this defense comes across as, no pun intended, defensive"

    Futhermore, just like you believe you have a right to leave your opinion on this matter, I too believe, I should be able to respond if I want to. And why shouldn't I? It is my story after all.

    I could also argue that you seem to be defending smc's argument... and that shouldn't matter cos you should be able to do that if you are so inclined.
    Waffarian said...
    Yeah...and I stand by what I wrote earlier:

    Since I want the readers to interprete the story for themselves and enjoy their own experience, I am not going to explain why, how or what I meant by what I wrote.
    Mz. Dee said...
    I loved dis.. welldone.
    ekwitux said...
    I was especially looking forward to Waffy's piece. I was not disappointed. Suspense filled, yet believable and totally absorbing. Waffy let us know when you publish...

    Ekwi
    smc said...
    @ Waffarian, Let me be quick to say here (just in case the thought crossed your mind), that Anonymous of 12.45pm is not me and I haven't the foggiest idea who he/she may be so if he/she raised points, it is independent of me.
    theicequeen said...
    luvly story ojare...you read am enjoy am..na war?? if you no like how the thing dey..well i apologise on Waffys behalf, but i cannot watch Harry Potter and be complaining that it should me more like Step Up..waffys story is what it is..shes telling it like she wants..she has that RIGHT!!

    the piece is nice..kabisa!
    Pandora said...
    I’ve read some of the comments above. I understand that waffy might be a bit sensitive about her work so I was not going to say anything. However, since you have put this on display, I think I would be a shame if I didn’t point out some things (purely to do with the concept) that stop this being a truly great piece.

    My problem lies with the fact that Joe is a lawyer. This could have been an attempt to link him back to naapali’s character but it doesn’t work as a single story or as a link. He practices law. It puts food on the table (this is said in the present tense). However, the premier is his. I don’t know many lawyers that would have both the time to practice law well enough to make a living plus be able to direct or produce or write a screenplay (the latter is an ongoing thing even during the production of a movie). The fact that she said he had added a new scene about a pregnant woman seems to suggest it is not the first time he has done it. Be it for a movie or a commercial or a theatre production or musical, the lawyer thing really sticks out like a sore thumb and it is a shame because it is not needed.

    My other problem is she seems to have survived the streets pretty well. She is indeed scarred but she has made a better job of life (married with kids) and her career (writing books being more than she dreamed of) compared with Joe who left the streets. He seems permanently wounded by it who has become the monster he was running away from. No other character on the street or the avenue seems to be so fortunate.

    Lastly, I have issues with the letter because introduces the concept of hope. For the simple minded, again the analogy does not fit with all the other stories in the project. If this had been the last piece in the project I could understand why you used this but I’m glad 14th & Serenity did not end that way because it would be the cliché Hollywood ending.

    That being said as a stand alone story the letter and the positive effect of the streets would have worked. Here it has weakened it. The good bits include using the film/ documentary/ theatre production as an obvious collision. Another good thing was the interplay between the two characters. Their story is timeless. You are the 2nd person to use a static scene. There is beauty in the stillness and the silences you have created. I could see the warring emotions going on inside the two characters because of what is left unsaid.

    My advice is trust yourself. As a writer you have the potential to fly
    Waffarian said...
    @Pandora:

    My problem lies with the fact that Joe is a lawyer. This could have been an attempt to link him back to naapali’s character but it doesn’t work as a single story or as a link. He practices law. It puts food on the table (this is said in the present tense)

    Good Point! I struggled with this as well...at first he was a pharmarcist(I know!)...then like you said...an attempt. Yeah...I really struggled with this. As for the present tense...hmmmmm, very good point. Making it in the past tense would have "relieved" some issues.


    My other problem is she seems to have survived the streets pretty well. She is indeed scarred but she has made a better job of life (married with kids) and her career (writing books being more than she dreamed of) compared with Joe who left the streets

    It was that exact contrast I wanted..I guess it worked because you noticed it. Whether it works for 14th and Serenity as a whole is another matter...


    Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate the points you have raised.
    Waffarian said...
    @pandora: sorry, I forgot to put your comments in quotation marks but I am sure you'll know which was yours anyway.
    Daydah said...
    I really felt the story, because it hit it so close to home...I could almost say Maureen's thoughts out loud. I love your style, and your attitude to comments. Keep it up!
    @anon: that's why you are idntity less, so no one can check your own writeups up and confirm the suspicion that you are a critic and not really a writer...suspicion, I said.
    Anyway, follow Asa's statement (as some here has already said)-Open your mind, soft your mind & enjoy the individuality of the stories...if you jump, you will never believe.
    guerreiranigeriana said...
    ...@pandora: google oliver mbamara...anything is possible...specifically regarding your issue with the credibility of joe practicing law and film/etc...

    @waffy: wow lady!!!...well done...i enjoyed this piece...i especially appreciated the unsaid...it reminded me a bit of a good foreign film...they don't tell you everything and i am often left wondering, pondering and watching again...i don't think i even knew you wrote like this...
    Pace said...
    Wow, really a marvelous piece.....am not very good at reviewing articles if thats what this is called....but it really is a beautiful one....hits close to home, if you know what I mean...waffarian, keep the good work
    Lighty 'neferet' Kopearl said...
    i really like the subtleness in this, very very well written.
    SECRET DIARY said...
    na waaaaaa ooohhh

Post a Comment




 

Original Blogger Template | Modified by Blogger-Whore | Distributed by eBlog Templates