We define ourselves by what we forgive.  If it is given freely, wildly, and not earned, it is without value.  Such is the same for ‘unconditional love.’  I would like to have lived a life where forgiveness could flow freely from me and love could be lavished on all.

But I have begged for forgiveness when the most minute sins earned me lifetimes of blood and woe.  I was answered with silence. I have begged for love from ones so powerful that even death could not stop them.  Yes, they could transcend death and time, but they could not transcend their loathing for me.  So, what example have I?  Even Sarah has abandoned me because of who I am. Who am I to dispense forgiveness and unconditional love?  I, who’ve labored for both and earned neither.

Angelique’s final moments of life were spent begging me for forgiveness.  My reflex was to grant it… and then I thought of my father and uncle, chiding me constantly to stand as a man.  And then I thought of every moment of death and suffering that surrounded everyone I loved, and how powerless I’ve been throughout.  The only power I had in that moment, the only way I could stand as the man I was expected to be, was by denying Angelique the benediction she desired.

Had she forgiven me when I desired it?  No.  Why should I show any more consideration toward her?

The last sound she heard was my refusal to forgive.

Does that make me man enough?  Does that adequately prove my powers of assertion?  Am I worthy now?  Now that I’ve held back three tiny words from a pathetic, powerless, anguished, dying woman?

Is that what is expected of me?  Speaking three words, “I forgive you,” even if they’d been a lie, would have cost me nothing.  But I did not.

There is a unique horror that exists in the eyes of one who sees the onrushing and inevitable strike of the beast.  It is the most grotesquely naked of human emotions, without power or dignity or reason.  That look will never match the horror in the eyes of Angelique as she died hearing me pontificate from the highest of altars about fairness.

Hang fairness and balance and justice.  At that moment, she was not a witch.  She was a fallible human, frail and frightened and brave enough to push past her pride and admit it, and beg at my feet as her last living acts.  I treated her as if she were a monster and even congratulated myself on it.

If there is a monster, his name is Barnabas Collins.  Freeing me from the beast only allowed something far worse to rise in its place: the man.


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