Writing Prompt #114 — Three Lives Guilt

Prompt: In a world where reincarnation is proven and people have gained access to their old memories you and your GF are still settling an argument 3 lives old.

“Can you just drop it? It’s been three lives! Three!” I shout, going into the kitchen, trying to follow my therapist’s advice of keeping a safe distance, to walk away.

“No!” she shouts back, rising from the couch and following me. “No, I can’t. It could be three hundred lives and I’ll never let it go.”

I try to busy myself with putting the dishes away, but she stands next to me, trying to tower over me although I’m nearly a foot taller than her. “Look I said I was sorry then, then again and again and again. What else do you want from me?”

“A sincere apology. Sincere. Not your typical, ‘Oh, I’m sorry… I guess.'” I don’t see it, but I know she rolls her eyes as she says it.

“That’s not what I sound like or how I apologized. I said I was sorry a hundred times in so many different damn ways.” I close the cabinet, face her. “What else or how else could I say it that would make you believe I am? Hell! Why would I even want to fake an apology with what happened? Do you think I like this?”

“Do you think I do?”

“I didn’t say you did.”

Her brow furrows, shakes her head. “It doesn’t matter. Just apologize.”

I run my hand over my face, moan, grit my teeth. I say something I shouldn’t. “I shouldn’t have to apologize anyway.”

“What!” Her eyes go wide, her lips a snarl. “What do you mean you shouldn’t?”

“It was your fault.” I force the words out, words I always wanted to say. “You were the one carrying her.”

“But that’s because—”

“No,” I say, move away from her to the opposite side of the kitchen, lean against the oven. “I told you not to bring her, she would be fine on her own for a while, but you said no and were persistent. So you brought her, carried her, along our walk by the river.”

“Yeah, but—”

“Then there was a car out of control, barreling down the street. I grabbed you at the last moment, but you slipped on a wet patch and lost your hold on her, then she went into the river.”

“You jumped it,” she says, “but when you pulled yourself out from the water, you didn’t have her.” Her face scrunches up, tears spill down her cheeks. “You didn’t save her, our daughter…”

“She was pulled into the undertow. The water was murky and cold. I searched the best I could but I couldn’t see anything, couldn’t feel anything, but I did my best to find her…” I say, sigh, “but if you wouldn’t have brought her, like I said; left her in her crib, asleep, for ten minutes at most, she would be fine. She would still be here.”

Instead of her speaking, she storms out of the room. I hear her stomp upstairs and a door slam shut.

I let the silence settle over me a moment, two.

It doesn’t matter who was right or wrong, or whose fault it was. It all came down to our daughter being gone. Couldn’t she understand that? Couldn’t I?

I wipe my eyes, then head upstairs.

Read my previous prompt, “The Scratch On the Outside

Read more of my writing prompts here.

Check out my bibliography for more of my work.

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