The Late Goodbye

He had never seen her so vulnerable before. He couldn’t really do anything about it, but that didn’t stop him from being concerned. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“There is no other way.” She sounded stern. Her voice betrayed no weakness.

“But you would destroy everything in trying to destroy him. You know that.”

“I do, but I cannot take this any more. This needs to end, he needs to be taught a lesson.”

“When do you plan to do it?”

“The 21st of December.”

He took a few moments to work out the meaning of this new revelation. And then, he realised. “Oh, that’s cruel.”

For a split second, her lips broke into a tired smile. Then the smile vanished just as it had come.

After a long time, she spoke again. “Its all my fault. How could I be so naive! When I first saw him, he looked so different from the rest that I was worried about him. But then I saw him defend himself, find his way in the world – he stood above all the rest. But above all, he understood me like no one did. He wanted to know everything about me. Right then, I chose my favourite. The strongest, the coolest, the most accomplished.”

“The fittest.” He added, understanding.

“Yes, the fittest.” She said, after a pause.”And I helped him get fitter. I gave him everything I could. I invited him to exploit me.” Her voice was bitter. “Before I could realise, his hold over me had reached dangerous levels. I tried to retaliate, but he knew me too well. By then, he had mastered the art of squeezing out whatever he wanted of me.”

“And not just me,” She continued, “He oppressed all of his friends, MY friends to win his way. Some he coerced to his bidding, some he just used for his own fun. Later, he ruined them all alike. The ugly bullying monster!”

When she spoke next, her voice was distant. “Looking back, I realise how my entire reasoning for choosing him was flawed. He was the fittest among them all, but he wasn’t fit for me. At least the rest of them loved me – he didn’t. He understood me, but understanding doesn’t guarantee love.”

“If he does understand you as well as you claim, wouldn’t he know what he is heading to?”

“Oh he does!” Her voice now sounded angrier that it ever had all this time. “He knows. I have given him so many signals – even the blind and the deaf and the dumb could understand them. I have been moody, I have thrown tantrums, I have rained tears, I have been angry for days at a stretch… He knows. He understands. He just doesn’t care. He is too comfortable to change, and somewhere in his mind, there is an utter disbelief for anything that could go wrong, anything that could defeat him. He really believes that he will always have his way. I don’t know what’s brewing in that cunning mind of his, but unless he could brew up another planet, I do not see what options he has.”

She looked away. Her anger, mixed with distress and pain was palpable. Her chest was heaving – she was trying hard to keep herself calm. He moved closer to her. “Can I ask you something?”

Her eyes were closed. And her silence was unnerving. He hesitated, and then, moving closer, asked again in a careful voice. “Earth?”

She was startled. “Yes?”

“Earth,” he continued, “Is correcting his mistake now as option?”

She looked into his eyes, anger flashing in hers. But he continued nevertheless, in the same calm, careful tone. “What if he accepts his mistakes and starts correcting them starting today? Would you forgive him, for the rest of them, for the rest of the species?”

She stood silent for a long time. When she spoke next, her voice was soft, and steady. “I do not know. I am broken, Mars. I don’t know if the damage is reparable. And I would rather see all the species die than see them rot to death in this world Human has bestowed upon them. However, I will decide when the time comes, if it comes at all. But if you ask me – I do not think Human has it in him to correct this. It requires him to give up all of his pride and come to all of us with a modesty that is impossible for him to feel. No, I feel that we will never reach that dilemma. 21st December, 2012 will be a day to remember, for him and for all of us.”

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