Gortoz 'A Ran - Ch 98 - A little spark of hope...

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98 of Gortoz 'A Ran


The sun was already starting to set by the time Meagan and I left O'Malley's. The two of us were strolling around on the boulevard in total silence after what happened at the pub. The bustling nightlife started to kick in and more and more people were going out to have a good time but Meagan and I were walking away from it all... The longer we were walking, the quieter it got as we left the scene... All Meagan did was staring at the ground while we were walking and she seemed unusually calm now... I heard Meagan sigh every once in a while and at some point, I noticed she wasn't walking next to me anymore. Looking back, I saw she stopped and leaned against the railing, staring at the ocean view... Poor thing was shattered to pieces... So I got back and stood next her...

'You okay...?'

She nodded quietly after a while and kept staring ahead... It was absolutely beautiful to have seen the sun go down over the ocean... The sound of the waves hitting the shore... Seagulls flying around, chirping loudly... It was so peaceful... Meagan took a deep breathe and closed her eyes for a moment... I think she must've thought the same thing...

'I'm sorry, Ceylan...'

'For what...?'

'My ramblings...'

'It's okay... I can imagine that you feel the need to talk about it...'

'Well... Yes and no... I just don't know how to tell it or even on what to tell... And now, it's just... I don't know...'

'Things don't always go the way you plan...'

'No... No, it sure as hell doesn't... Ten years ago, I thought I would've graduated, would get a good job, found a nice guy and settled down somewhere by now... I never imagined things to turn out the way they did...'

'Hm...'

'You know, Ceylan... I wasn't too sure if it was such a good idea by telling you... Part of me feels glad that I ever did because at least there's someone I don't have to lie to anymore... But that doesn't change the way I live my life...'

'Well no, but... You get to decide where it's all leading to... You've set a goal for yourself... And when everything seems pointless, that goal may seem like a small bit of hope... But it's still hope nonetheless... That's why you need to cling on to it...'

'I know...'

'Holding on to that small bit of hope seems difficult when there's so little to grasp on... But that's why you've got all the more reason to try in doing so... Because if you don't, it'll slip away and there will be nothing left to hold on to anymore...'

'Heh... It's just that... I had to make a choice, you know...? Any other job required me to stay in debt service for at least thirty years in order to pay off everything... And with what I'm doing now, I'll manage to pay it off in eight years... I want neither of it... But I suppose I just need to make the best of it and get out of debt as soon as possible...'

Meagan turned her head and smiled weakly at me when she reached out for my hand... She gently squeezed my hand for a moment but once she let go, she kept staring ahead in the distance... Meagan looked down and wiped her eyes when she walked up to a bench just up ahead where she sat down and continued staring at the ocean... So I sat down next to her... And once I did, she starting talking again...

'So much shit has been going down in the last couple of years and I keep wondering how long I'll be able to keep it all together...'

'It's not easy when everything comes crashing down on you... Especially when you're all alone...'

'No... The thing is, I didn't have to be lonely...'

'Do you miss your dad...?'

'It's hard to say, Ceylan...'

'How so...?'

'Last time I saw him, I had a huge fight with him... I told him the truth... That he was a fucking alcoholic and wasted away in his own grievance... Neglecting his responsibilities instead of building up a normal life again and failed in giving me a chance of having one... I was so angry at him, I stormed out of the house and... Four hours later, I received the news...'

'Oh...'

'It was so surreal, so fucked up and I was absolutely devastated when I heard the news... But I also felt guilty to have been so harsh on him all the time... I just didn't see any other way... And maybe I wasn't there for him when he needed me... But after the cremation, I realized I was all alone and it all came down on me... The fact that he took his own life just so that he wouldn't have to deal with it anymore infuriated me instead... I was so angry at him because he left me behind to deal with his problems... And I just couldn't understand how he could ever do that to me...'

'It wasn't always like that, was it...?'

'No... My dad became depressed when my mother died in a car accident... He started drinking, gambling and managed to build up a huge debt which caused me to drop out of college to help him out...'

'I see...'

'I was working three days a week at my dad's business as a receptionist and had another job on the side... And for a while there, things were looking up for once... Loans were taken in order for us to pay his employees but one by one, we had to let them go eventually... Still, we were doing okay...'

'You co-signed the loans, right?'

'Yes, so that we could share the debts... Things were going well whenever we managed to bring in a new customer every once in a while but when the recession came and his business was going downhill, my dad fell back in his old habits... He was pushed right over the edge when he had to close down...'

'I see...'

'I often came home and found him on the couch passed out drunk with a bottle of whiskey in his hands... He got so consumed with his own grief and sorrow that he forgot he had a daughter who relied on him... A daughter who trusted him and needed him the most... Instead, everything we had was auctioned off and the only thing we had left was our house and several things we needed while the debts kept raising...'

'Raising...?'

'Overdue rent on the business property, suppliers, employees, mortgage on the house, loans plus the usual bills and taxes... We just couldn't keep up...'

'Oh...'

'And then one day, he jumped off the Pryhaven bridge...'

'When was that...?'

'Six years ago... After my dad died, I stayed in the house for several months, until I was forced to sell it. It took a long time but the house got sold eventually but with significant loss... And Nikki took me in when no one else did...'

'So that's how you became her roommate...'

'Yeah... She was always there for me when I needed her...'

'I see...'

'And the rest, as they say, is history...'

'Do you hold your dad responsible for everything...?'

'For denying me a chance of a normal life, for not being a father and getting me in this situation in the first place...? Yes, I blame him for everything... I'll never forgive him...'

'You said your dad was cremated...'

'Yes...?'

'Where is his urn...? I didn't see any at Nikki's place...?'

'In all honesty...?'

'Yes...?'

'I didn't took it with me when I moved in with Nikki... Before the house got sold and I had to leave, I flushed his ashes down the toilette and threw his urn in the garbage bin... He simply doesn't have a place in my life anymore...'

I was actually kind of startled when I heard her say that in a rather cold, emotionless tone... Like she really didn't give a damn about her dad anymore... It seemed harsh that Meagan did that but considering what she's going through, it's perfectly understandable that she has a deep-found hatred towards her father... But as always, there are two sides to a story and sadly, Meagan never got to hear his side... It was too late for that... She wanted answers but all the hope she had in finding them died along with her father... She'll have to live on with the idea that all of her questions will never be answered and that no one can ever answer it for her... And I think she realized that all too well... So I can understand why she turned so bitter and cynical as she moved on with her life... Meagan sighed quietly once more and stared at the ocean again but I got carried away in thoughts... Every word she told me started to sink in... And it made me think that Meagan still has so many things she never was able to process... All that's left for her and the only thing she could was to find closure in order to move on... But in all these years, she never managed to...

'It's never easy to give the past a rest, Meagan... And it's not always easy to forgive those who wronged you... '

'I don't see a reason why I should... Can I forgive the guy who ruined every chance for me to live a normal life...? My dad, for all that matters...?'

'Can you...?'

'You're saying I should forgive him...?'

'It's a choice you can make, Meagan... It's up to you...'

'Can I ask you something personal, Ceylan...? And I don't want you to take this the wrong way...'

'Yes...?'

'Did you manage to forgive those who were responsible for the death of your family during the war...?'

'I did, yes...'

'How...? And more importantly, why...?'

'Because I can't change what happened to them... Living with hate and anger just doesn't get you anywhere... Hating them doesn't bring my loved ones back... It keeps me in the past and prevents me from moving on with my life...'

'But they took everything from you...'

'They took a lot from me but not everything...'

'Heh...'

'It wasn't easy for me to live with the idea that I survived the war and my family didn't... And I've seen a lot of things there that no one is ever supposed to see... It caused all the nightmares and prevented me from living my life...'

'I see...'

'And as much as I love the people around me, it never felt right for me to talk to them about it...'

'Because they weren't there...?'

'Exactly... The things I've seen goes beyond the comprehension of the normal mind... They don't know what's like to see someone being set on fire or to see someone getting shot in the head... To see someone being decapitated with a machete... People hear what you're saying but they don't understand because they can't relate to it... And even though they mean it well, they can't help me... Not even the psychiatrist could solve everything...'

'How'd you do it then...?'

'A while ago, I met someone here who experienced the war as well... And it took me some time to build up the courage to see him but I eventually did... We shared our stories together and talked about it... He was a total stranger and yet he felt so familiar to me...'

'Because you could relate to each other...'

'Yes...'

'Heh...'

'I know it will always be part of me and I know I'll never forget what happened... I'll always have my setbacks... The nightmares will always come back to me... But that was never the problem... The problem was my attitude towards it... And he just gave me the strength to move on for now...'

'I see...'

'Talking to you made me realize that we're not so different, you and I... Even though we both experienced totally different things, I can understand why you didn't want to talk to anyone about it...'

'Heh...'

'See, the thing is... Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny your dad's responsibility for hurting you and it doesn't justify the wrong he caused... And what your dad did to you may always remain a part of your life... But as you let go of your grudges and resentment, you'll no longer define your life by how much you've been hurt by him...'

'I suppose... I just don't care enough about him anymore to do so...'

'Perhaps... But those who don't care anymore used to be the ones who once cared too much...'

'I know...'

'And I can understand why you're so angry... Your dad may not have given you a chance to live a normal life but you can still give yourself a chance of having one... You just gotta ask yourself what you need to do in order to change your life around... But you already know what needs to be done and you're doing it for six years now... This will all end one day, Meagan... It really will... You just gotta hold on... You have to in order to make it...'

'Hold on to that little spark of hope...'

'Exactly... If you go down the same road as your dad and give up, you'll find nothing else to hold on to anymore... That's why you have to keep on going...'

'So that's what you meant...'

'Yes...'

'I see...'

'The road ahead might not be a pleasant journey but one day, you'll be where you want to be if you continue to follow the path that you set out for yourself... But all that anger and sorrow, grudges and resentment will only make it harder for you than it already is... Forgiving him doesn't have to mean you'd forgive his actions... It would mean that you can finally let go of all that anger and sorrow in order to continue your path... And only time can tell if you will ever forgive him for all the harm he has done to you...'

'Heh...'

'What would you tell your dad if he was here right now...?'

Meagan stared down for a moment and wiped the tears from her eyes once more... I heard her sigh quietly and her lips were trembling again... As if she tried to hold herself back or something... Maybe she's ashamed that she let her emotions get the better of her... Meagan tried to hide it but the more she tried to, the more difficult it got for her... The tears were rolling down her face as she bit her lip and every once in a while, she looked at me, having a very weak smile on her face... I saw how her lips were trembling as she took several deep breathes... And I could tell that this wasn't easy for her...

'I-If he was here...?'

'Yes...?'

'Heh...'

'Would there be anything you'd like to tell him...? Or maybe even want to ask him...?'

'I'd tell him that he forgot about me when he got so caught up with the death of my mother... I was hurt by her loss too but he didn't seem to have noticed...'

'Hm-mm...'

'I'd ask him why he went through with it... I would tell him that I'm lying on my backside for eight hours a day, six days a week in order to pay off his debts... I'd look him in the eyes and ask him if he's still proud of his "little girl" for doing so...'

'Heh...'

'I'd tell him that it didn't have to be this way... I would ask him why he abandoned me, why he wasn't a father to me when I needed him the most and why he did this to me... I would tell him that I'm all alone in all this, that I have nothing and that he was all I had... And perhaps he forgot about me as he spiraled down into depression... But I refuse to go down the same road as he did...'

'You don't know his side of the story...'

'No... And I suppose I have to find peace in knowing that I never will... But most of all, I'd tell him that despite everything he did to me, I still miss him dearly... Despite everything, he's still my dad... And even though he may not care about me anymore, I want him to know that I still love him...'

It stayed quiet for a long time as Meagan was trying to hold herself together... She was looking down once more and closed her eyes as the tears were rolling down her face... All that anger, all that sorrow, pent up for so many years finally got out... I heard how she was sobbing uncontrollably and when I looked at her, the poor thing looked so lost that evening... And I felt so sorry when I saw her like that... I moved closer towards her and placed my arm around her to hold her close... And as Meagan placed her head on my shoulder, she clenched her teeth and cried her eyes out... All I could do was to caress her hair and quietly whispered to her that everything would be alright...

Meagan always seemed like a cold, calculating girl... But hearing her story made me understand why... It was strange that she was pouring her heart out to me, to someone she hardly knew at the time... And it's even stranger to realize we used to hate each other to the core... It just goes to show that everyone has a story to tell... And if we could all just listen instead of judging someone all the time, well, who knows... The world may get just a little better... We got to know each other better ever since that night she found me with my diary in the living-room... It made me realize that we have more in common than I ever realized... It all led to the point for Meagan to tell me her story... No one else knows so I suppose that means a lot in how much she trusts me... And the only reason she shared it with me at the time was because she wanted to open my eyes to see what Nikki and I were doing to each other... It was a story she wasn't very keen on sharing for obvious reasons but it helped me more than she would ever realize... It's tragic and inspiring at the same time... But she's determined to walk the path she set out for herself and to see it through... I'd like to think that life is a journey that we don't have to travel alone... We just simply tag along with each other while we are on our way... And I can't tell if our roads may lead us in different directions one day... But until that day comes, I know I'll be there by her side... In every way imaginable...