Beneath Contempt

by on December 2, 2023 :: 0 comments

photo "House of Us" by Tyler Malone

“I feel nothing but contempt towards him,” said she, her lips curling in revulsion involuntarily.

“Contempt with intensity,” responded he, after a long contemplation of her very expressive face.

“I never thought unrequited love could engender so much hate. No, it’s rather malice of a rare breed,” resumed she, with apparent difficulty.

“Did you break his heart?” asked he, in the gentlest of tones.

“No, I did not. I never reciprocated his feelings, never promised to or even pledged a friendship that was already contaminated with ill-feeling. As soon as I realized that he sought other than a friend, I withdrew gradually and was adamant on not wounding his feelings. It took me years to realize how his revenge had tarnished my personal and professional image. I never suspected him, thinking his marriage had cured him of a very old memory,” divulged she, despite a characteristic taciturnity.

“And what did his revenge amount to?” inquired he with growing concern.

“All sorts of things. Defamation of character, slander, pernicious rumors. He apparently attributed to me every ugly trait he secretively possessed,” she answered, with apparent disgust.

“Did you ever consider any retaliatory measures?” asked he.

“Never. You cannot retaliate against slime. You get splashed all over,” said she, closing her eyes as if she were in the middle of a quagmire.

“I mean revealing his true face to the world, exposing his evil schemes,” explained he, delighted at the fact that she never sought revenge.

“It’s up to people to discover his true colors. It’s not my job. People are free to soil their ears with his filth until they get clogged to deafness,” affirmed she.

“Do you hate him?” asked he.

“No, hate is a compliment to him. He will eventually sink beneath contempt,” said she.

“It’s strange how love can turn to life-long enmity!”

“I do not think he ever loved me. I called it unrequited love to indicate the sheer absence of reciprocity. He loved his own worth and believed that every woman should feel honored by his attentions, and when I failed to, his vessel filled with gall,” said she.

“Vessel!” exclaimed he.

“His soul,” explained she.

“Which will go to Hell, I presume.”

“What do I gain from people going to Hell? It does not conciliate me. It does not erase or heal the scars he inflicted. When He has such power, wouldn’t it have been better if He prevented him from harming me in the first place. I have suffered for years and the idea that he will be punished does not console me.”

“What does?”

“Nothing, I’m afraid. I think he would have gone ahead with his deeds even if a vision of his punishment was within his sight all the time he was wreaking his havoc. The pleasure he gets from inflicting pain outweighs any threats of being barbecued in Hades. If I were a god, I would punish people for their evil intentions, but prevent them from performing their vicious deeds. In this way, Hell would still exist.”

“I am sorry that you’re beginning to lose faith,” he stated.

“Father, I am here to converse with you, and not to confess. I love priests because they possess listening skills. Nobody wants to listen nowadays; it is the era of making speeches. The internet has turned every inhabitant of this blessed planet into a Plato or Socrates, except for those who have additional physical charms, which they unveil to the public eye, vying with Hollywood celebrities. I see on the streets nothing but posers. There’s no need to watch any TV series. The private lives of households have become public property. Privacy is deceased.”

“Yours too!” he exclaimed.

“Mine too. My files and Inbox are not immune from intrusion,” she said.

“There is no utopia,” he said.

“There is not without, but there is within. It exists in my mind,” she promptly replied.

She left the stone seat.

“Shall we never meet again?” he asked, with a saddened face.

“We shall. I am not moving to another city or continent. Geography changes nothing. I am changing the way I think. We shall meet in this cemetery. These two headstones and you are what is left of my past history. You called me Jessica before I was born. It’s just a see-you-later, not an adieu.”

She vanished before she heard his May the Lord be with you.

editors note:

May we all be blessed by who and who is not in our daily lives to share our daily bread. ~ Tyler Malone

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