Disclaimer: I do not own anything.
I tell myself that I will see them in December. I tell myself that all the longing I have been feeling is bearable. Is it actual longing or simply a restlessness? I tell myself that under the faded skies they will weep upon my return. They will come running up to me, throwing their arms around my neck in a strangling embrace. I am not to be lost and when I am gone, I am dearly missed. If only you could come home more often. If only you could just stay here. If only you had been granted a better life.
I will fall to my knees, apologizing for my absence, promising them that even though this visit is short, I will return. That before long, I will be free. But that I am so sorry I have made such detrimental choices. That I am trying to rid myself of this beast of burden. That I have tried to escape and failed, and that is what has been keeping me. They will look at me skeptically, disappointedly. They will tell me not to try and escape, just wait patiently for parole. I will assure them I will stop. I will lie. But they will be relieved and I will be relieved in knowing they are content.
A gendarme passes by my cell, disgust plastered on his face in a vain attempt to hide his fear. He quickly moves on, only to begin arguing with another prisoner. Their boisterous voices remind me of all the fights I will have with her.
We will care for one another and anger one another equally. She is disturbed by my cold, disconnected attitude towards life. I am irritated with her obsessive nagging. We will yell at one another; she will reach for something to throw. But I will be the first to draw the line, as I will never physically harm her. Whenever the argument settles, we will be left staring at one another emptily. She will always be the first to apologize, and once she starts on her repentance, I can no longer be angry. What will start these fights? The same thing every time: my never being around, and her having to work as the consequence. The fact that she is also ostracized from society will be difficult to manage.
But that is the complication which prevents me from entering the realm of normal men. I instantly signed away my natural rights when I was caught. I was placed in prison as a punishment for a good deed, for not conforming to the law. I have had everything taken away from me, except my thoughts. I am slowly discovering just how dangerous thought can be; thought which can go from being the most bittersweet to the most menacing as fast as a bird takes flight.
Through all my hardship, they will be there. As long as I keep them in mind, I am not abandoned. Yet, I will never understand why Alexandrie will choose me. Perhaps she will have undergone destitution just like me. She would have wanted to cling to anything which appeared to provide safety, even if a falsity. She would have trusted me before I was arrested. What kind of man was I before my arrest? I barely recognize myself nowadays, even though I constantly feel that malicious need in the pit of my stomach. It is more confined than it used to be. I am more confined than I used to be. That will be what brought us together. But what would I have had to offer? I would have had no substantial amount of money, no land – nothing to base a life off of. She would have just seen some sort of potential. Potential for my soul?
That is what will make her a saint. She will not leave me, despite the complication of my life. She will embody all the characteristics I do not have. She will place me above her own needs, which will ultimately place her above me. But what will make her stay? I do not know. Either she will have faith in me, or she will just want to see me reach an end. It would be right of her to make sure that I am long gone before remarrying. Although, she will have no luck in trying to remarry, especially once possible suitors realize she was married to a convict. And would she really be that callous? I have just said she will be a saint. She will stay with me because of faith. She will stay because she knows that one day I will be let go.
So we will only fight in sparse moments when Alexandrie is not protecting me. She will be emotionally stronger than I think. She will nag me because she wants me to have a future better than my past – not simply the same. I will realize that I can never truly touch her. I will never be able to get close to her because I keep her so occupied. It will take me a while to figure out that the constant, hopeful, fearless words are not trivial pesters. You need to hold on. You need to keep your head down, shut up, and listen. You need to stop trying to escape if you really want to be free. Amongst her sorrow at our predicament, she will shine through the crisp winter like crepuscular rays.
Alexandrie is not the only one who will weep upon my return – so will our little girl.
The sweetest daughter who will keep Alexandrie company during my absences. A girl, who will have such a complex, almost damaged life because of who her parents are. Would she have friends? How would she ever get married? She – we – will need to hide the truth, force life to be picturesque. Or maybe she will accept the way life is and turn out just as saintly as her mother. But if it does not seem like she will, well, then we will just keep her ignorant. What kind of education would she have? She will turn out fine either way.
And if I have the means, I will give her everything she will ever want. Keep her above poverty, so she will never have to experience what I have. Protect her from the cruel outside. Alexandrie will surely protest, wanting her to have some knowledge on the realities of life. Another point to argue. But she will love her daughter nevertheless. A love which will make her want more, until we have too many mouths to feed. The very expectation of society – the poor family with too many children.
Between all this chaos, the visits, the children, I will manage to see my sister.
Alexandrie, unable to stand suffering, will take my sister and her children in. She will not care about having to support even more people. Concern for their welfare will occupy her thoughts so much, she will be blinded. My sister could work as well, but what would become of the children? All there would be is a house full of people who can barely afford the land they use. A house full of misery and sightless happiness.
Where will I fit into this life?
At first they will cry, overjoyed that at my presence. But before long, they will start to demand necessities, support. I will try to sustain them, forevermore unable to reach the amount they require. I will barely be able to provide enough food. They will become unhappy, and so will I at their suffering. Would I be prompted to steal again? I would have to. They would become pleased once again, at my expense. A vicious cycle I cannot rid myself of even in thought. The focus of my nightmares – what I wake to, the last memories reminding me where I am and why I am here. Would I be arrested again? A life that feels so right would go straight to hell.
The children will glare at me in that manner particular to them – pouting, mad, yet unable to express how they truly feel. Why is there no food? Why are we moving? I will not answer them. When they are old enough, they can make their own decisions – decisions which will take them away from their home, away from me, and into a more suitable life. They will have two different impressions of me: one of apathetic love, one of utter hatred.
The gendarme passes my cell again, this time he is completely indifferent.
I tell myself it would be wrong to submit any human to such wretchedness. I tell myself they would want me to leave them alone. Why come around when I cannot provide for them? I will just be forcing them to drudge through the quagmire which has become my name. I can see the hatred on their faces – the deep-set frowns, the furrowed eyebrows, the squinting implying questioning – as I fail horribly at being a husband, father, brother. I am starting to believe I am not meant for a life beyond prison. Perhaps prison has always had its doors open to me, Jean Valjean, as if it were as welcoming as a home.
I tell myself I must let this thought go. The longing which I have been feeling is just another form of my frustration. I will not see them in December, because they do not exist. I tell myself it is best they do not exist, because I could not bear the guilt which stems from failing a second time.
Later, the gendarme passes once more, and this time I scowl at him. He is a part of the reason why I am here. I hate him. I hate them all. I might even hate myself, just a little, and am beginning to realize that hatred is definitely stronger than guilt. Stirred from my reverie, the strangling embrace I imagined might as well have been a noose. Another day has begun. I am a single step closer to freedom.
Wasn't sure about actually updating this. Just something I did in my spare time. Going off of an idea I had.