Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Truth or Dare (08/28/08)
TITLE: The Words That Torment
By Melanie Kerr
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I cannot hope to explain my actions to you and have you understand what I did. I am not asking for your forgiveness or your prayers.
You can have no idea how long I lay in bed this morning, watching you as you slept beside me, drinking in every contour of your face knowing it would be the last time I would wake up beside you. I longed to stroke your cheek, rubbing a finger against the morning stubble, but didn’t want to wake you. Somehow, you would have known what I thinking to do. You would have seen it in my eyes. You would have said something, to persuade me, and I would have listened. I always listened to you, and that was the problem. I should have listened to my heart.
The journey to the underground station was so different this morning. The same people travelled on the bus. The woman with the long blonde hair had almost finished the book she was reading. There was a mother in the seat opposite. She jiggled a soft toy in front of her baby’s face and hummed softly. Up until then, I hadn’t really made up my mind.
I glanced out of the window. The bus was passing by the park. It should have been a grey day with clouds menacing an overcast sky. There should have been rain, weeping down the windows. People should have been walking with shoulders huddled down in coats buttoned and belted, but it was sunny. Sunshine seeped through the trees, sprinkling glints of silver onto wet grass. Someone looked up at the bus and waved.
The poster plastered to the side of the bus just above the seats reminded me that “Jesus came to give life –and give it abundantly”.
I remembered your words, whispered in my ear the day we first noticed it.
“Jesus may have come to give life…but his so-called followers know only how to take.”
Infidels, we called them, marching into our countries, raping the land of its treasures, imposing their godless democracy upon us, scorning our modesty and opening the door wide to depravity and immorality.
The words “Jesus came to give life” seemed to haunt me at that moment. Why should he be the one to bring life while we must be the ones that end it? In the confines of one room, surrounded by my brothers and sisters chanting verses from the Qu’ran, polishing up our resentments and hostility, the plan to bomb the underground station seemed glorious and noble. But what kind of God do we serve that demands the destruction of innocent lives?
“Innocent?” I heard you say, “Where is the innocence in the bombs that destroy our homes? Where is the innocence in a democracy that allows you to choose a tyrant who points a finger and calls you a barbarian because you choose a different way of life? The baby bouncing on its mother’s knee today will be the soldier pulling the trigger on the rifle tomorrow. None are innocent!”
Carried away by the tide of hysteria and holy zeal I dared to volunteer. I gladly shouldered the burden of the rucksack packed with its cocktail of explosives. I convinced myself I would feel no pain as the force of the blast ripped my body to shreds. I was ready to surrender my life for the cause. Standing before Allah, stained in the blood of his enemies, I would hear him say to me “Well done, my good and faithful servant…”
“Jesus came to give life.” Those words refused to be ignored. They tormented me. They whispered words of hope.
I dared to listen.
I chose to cherish life, not destroy it.
I left the bus at the next stop and walked the short distance to the police station. I handed over the rucksack with its explosives.
I will not give them your name. My truth is not your truth and I will not impose it upon you.
Be assured I will love you always,
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