Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Promise

I made a promise. A promise I can’t break. A promise that haunts me, especially on my darkest days. On days like that it becomes a promise that makes me loath him for even getting it out of me. A promise I can’t break, because all I have anymore is my word, my bond. If I can’t keep a promise- what is left of me? That’s one part of my crumbling faith that I cling to. We don’t make oaths or swear on bibles, our word should be good enough. We are an honest and truthful people. Honesty is a virtue I now cherish, especially as I find it hard and harder to come by.

I made that promise one hot summer night, sitting on his back steps. I was all of 17. I lay bowed in his arms, defeated and beat down by the depression. I begged him to let me go, to let me stop the hurt. Through our shared tears he made me promise that I’d never leave him. He extracted that promise that I’d never do anything silly. That I’d never do anything deliberate. He never used the word suicide; it was too scary to say out loud, even in a whisper. What do you know at 17? He didn't know the toll that promise would take on both of us in the future. I wonder if he had been gifted with the power of foresight, would he have still made me promise?

Now at 24, that promise lays on me, like a smooth little pebble in my shoe. It laughs at me now that he’s gone. Why did I ever make such a promise? It’s so much harder to keep alone. And yet, there’s my niece…and now a nephew. Her birth kept me out of an institution. Is their life enough for me to make a new promise? A new reason to look away from the precipice and stick around? A new reason to just be.

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