Left Behind – A tale of Eros by Selina Elliot
“Just leave him,” Timonthy’s open hand grabbed their dad’s arm with a slap that their dad likely barely noticed. But Armas had heard it even from here and cringed. Timonthy argued his point, “he’s a blight on our family. And there’s no one here to know that we didn’t look for him.”
“Yah dad, we’re better off without him around and he’s better off dead,” Jesper voiced his opinion.
“Maybe you’re right,” he seemed to shrug the matter of his son off.
“Yes, they are,” Lucier said with emphasis. “Leave him to die. He’s not worth anything to anyone.”
The words were like a bucket of ice water over his head. Armas stared at his trembling hands. They truly felt that way. He had thought that maybe his family didn’t feel that way deep inside. Hadn’t they always given him a hard time because they believed he was better than he acted? Or did they only wish to be rid of him? Was he truly worthless like he felt?
“Let’s go,” his dad said to the others. Armas heard them packing up. He lay at the base of a tree listening to the sounds of his family leaving him. He could try to get up and go to them. He could try to call out. But he saw the truth now. They would take him with only because he was their responsibility. But they didn’t want him. So, the only thing to do was to stay put and let them leave. They deserved that, didn’t they?
When he heard them no more, Armas crawled from the tree. Tears and sweat were falling fast from his face. He knew not where to go, and didn’t know why he was pushing. Maybe it was because he was trying to run from what he was. He’d always had hope before that there was something worthwhile about him. There was hope that his family believed that too. But they didn’t and he wasn’t, and the truth hurt so badly.
The trees grew taller and wider. There was a source of water nearby. No longer did he care about quenching his thirst. He stumbled across a stream that had no beach and no sand beyond a simple measure of a handspan. The trees simply ended where the water began. Weeds sprang from the dark water telling him to stay away. He’d always hated the feel of weeds on his legs. It felt as though the plants were trying to pull him under the water.
With difficulty he removed the strange cloak-vest and placed it carefully to the side. It wasn’t his and he didn’t deserve to be wearing it. He hoped the man of the woods would find it. The wet sand oozed through his fingers as he crawled upon it. The water hit, caressing his burning arms and enticing him in further. As his leg fell into the water he cried out. Though the coolness of the water felt good, it could not outmatch the pain movement caused. When he could breathe again, Armas pulled himself out further. Hand length by hand length, the water level continued to rise until it reached his bare neck.
“I’m a blight,” he said his brother’s claim out loud. The voice in his head was that of his brother. It was insistent and he couldn’t find the will to fight what it said. “I’m nothing. Worthless.”
Why not? A dark thought passed though his mind. It wasn’t like his family was looking for him. No one could possibly want him. He was a blight in the world and blights were burnt off. That was what his father had been trying to do with his leg. Armas would complete what his dad had set out to do. What his family wanted him to do. What he should have done years ago.
He closed his eyes and slid beneath the water. The cool felt good on his burning forehead. After several heartbeats his lungs sent a message to his brain that they wanted air. He ignored them. He was not worth air. He was not worth living. With eyes squeezed shut, he fought the urges of his body to rise to the surface. The pain in his leg throbbed in time with his heart. Till now, Armas had always failed to ignore the impulses of his heart and body. But this time, for the first time, he would not fail his family. He gritted his teeth against the urge to breathe. His lungs were crying out for air now. He could not give in. Just a little longer and he’d slip into unconsciousness. Just a little more and it would all be over.
My voice is quiet this week because my heart yearns to listen. What does your voice say? The cries of your heart are screaming out yet, are mere whispers too often overlooked. I want to hear those whispers for they speak louder to me than any shouting could.
Share your voice, because it is worth sharing.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Not a Burden’. Find the strength to rise above the darkness. Take my hand. I am right here.