Her heart had been beating like crazy since she received a text. A text that got her rush out of her home with her car key the second she received it. She was after one and only one person, with one and only one purpose.
She inadvertently kept increasing her speed while she was driving, until she saw the traffic light in front of her turned red. She hit the brake at once, and a photograph fell out from the cabinet of the front. She saw it. In the blink of an eye, she was brought to the past. A flashback started.
It was fifteen years ago. Her heart was pounding like crazy as she was standing in front of that door. She drew a deep, deep breath, and she pushed the door with her trembling hands. There he was, her father, lying on the bed, covered with a white shroud. She moved forward to him, slowly, and with hardship, as if her feet were tied with a thousand weights. Her whole body was shaking as she uncovered the shroud. She saw his face, covered with flesh and blood. So distorted, it was beyond recognition. Yet still, she knew that was him. How would she not? She would have known if that was not her father, the one whom she loved more than anyone in this world, and the one who loved her more than anyone in this world. Her eyes turned red as her tears fell out, the tears of sorrow. A bullet took him, they said. A man shot him in the face, they said. That man was being hunted down already, they said. Her tears turned into tears of hatred. She knew she could never forgive that man.
‘This is all your father has got with him,’ said the doctor, heavily, as he passed a photograph to her, “You can have it.’
She reached out her hands and received it. It was an aged photograph taken a long time ago, in which she was cuddling with her father, while receiving a big kiss from him on her forehead.
‘I will avenge you, papa, I swear it,’ she whispered with the strongest determination as she stared at the photograph, holding back her tears,’ wherever that man is, wherever he’s hiding, I will find him.’
‘And I shall kill him myself.’
The flashback ended. She was still looking at the photograph, that photograph. She had been keeping it by her side since the day she received it fifteen years ago. It had aged more than it had before, as time went by. Her father’s face on it had started to fade away. Yet even so, the emotion that photo brought her, the happiness she felt when she took it with her father, and the sadness she felt when she received it in the hospital, and the hatred she had towards that man, did not fade along. She remembered every single bit of them whenever she looked at that photo over all these years, and undoubtedly along with her swear words. She had not betrayed her words. After that day, she had been searching for that man the best she could. Unluckily, the police got one step ahead of her. That man was caught by them before she could ever find him. He was brought to a trial on the court and was sentenced to a fifteen-year imprisonment. Her chance of killing him was since then taken away. Yet no longer anymore.
‘ I’ve found out the whereabouts of the man you’re looking for,’ the text from a detective she hired said,’ He has been released from prison three days ago. He is working in a fruit stall between Trevor Street and Stuart Street. He is there every day. Go there and you shall see him.’
The traffic light turned green. She continued her way at a faster speed. She could not wait any longer to finally meet the man she had been craving to meet for years, and craving to kill for years.
Not long afterwards, another traffic light in the crossroads turned red. She became a little bit annoyed but there was nothing she could do, but to wait. She grabbed the photograph that was still lying on the front, and wanted to put it back carefully. She opened the cabinet, where a gun was laid. Just when she was about to put in the photograph, she saw an old cassette tape player, with a note saying ‘For my girl’ on it. She immediately put down the photograph and took out the player instead. She pressed “play”. It was a lullaby written by her father. She remembered that he sang it to her every night before bed.
‘ Sleep, my girl, sleep well.
Papa’ll keep you safe and sound
and remember this very well,
you’re the greatest Papa could ever have found.
And someday you will grow,
and you’ll be a kind, and loving girl.
And make sure that you know,
you’re forever Papa’s pearl.’
Tears welled up in her eyes when she was listening to her father singing it once again. She was reminded of her father’s great love. She was reminded of how her father had taught her to be a kind and loving girl. She was reminded of how decent, and generous, and selfless her father was, and how much she admired him and wanted to be like him. Would he want his daughter to become a revengeful person? Would he want his daughter to forfeit her future because of his death? Or would he want her daughter to…. forgive? She gazed at the photograph and the gun, and then the cassette tape player. She fell into hesitation.
The traffic light turned green. She continued her way, but this time not that fast anymore. She did not know what to do when she saw that man, the man she had been craving to meet for years, and craving to kill for years. A thousand thoughts started to run through her head.
Yet before she made the choice, she had arrived at the destination. She looked out of the window, and saw a middle-aged man standing outside the fruit stall. He was skinny, with grey-coloured hair, and wrinkles on his face. He was receiving a customer, with a warm smile on his face. Out of her expectation, he looked nice and gentle, not at all how she had pictured what he would look like. Her thoughts split into two and started to contradict each other.
‘ Kill that man!’
‘ Spare his life.’
‘ Take revenge!’
‘ Forgive him.’
‘ He killed your father!’
‘ He has paid for it by being imprisoned for fifthteen years.’
‘ That wouldn’t be enough. He took your father’s life for good, while he’s only been punished for fifteen years of imprisonment? Only death can pay for death. Your father’s life has been taken by him, and it’s now time for his to be taken. You have been waiting for this chance for fifteen years, haven’t you?’
‘ He took your loved one’s life away, but he didn’t take yours. Your father’s gone, nothing can change that. Over the past fifteen years, you’ve been living in hatred, but it’s never too late to move on. Don’t give up your changing future because of an unchangeable past.’
She picked the photograph up, one last time. She took a deep breath and looked at her father. Instantaneously, she knew what to do.
She put down the photo, dropped the gun, and she stepped out of her car.