“In order to heal we must first forgive… and sometimes the person we must forgive is ourselves.” ~ Mila Bron
It was a Saturday morning, the alarm went off, It was 7:00 AM. The sun was shining and leaking through the curtains. Lewis woke up feeling tired in his King sized bed. He had gone to bed early the night before but unlike most people, if he slept over 7 hours he’d wake up feeling more tired than refreshed. He got out of bed and had a shower, a really cold shower, had a clean shave too. He wanted to look somewhat decent today.
The house he lived in was very big, and well, very lonely. Close to half a century old, you could maybe call this place a Manor. Lewis only used about 2 to 3 rooms. The rest were locked or sealed off. What was the point of using them? Nobody came by, other than the occasional maid who cleaned the living room and the dining room. He kept his bedroom in a somewhat decent state.
It was only last night that the car was delivered to his place. Those guys had parked it in the garage and left. Lewis didn’t go to see it but just signed the relevant papers and sent those fellows off. It had been about 8 months now since he’d seen the car. He lost part of himself in that car. Honestly ever since the incident he didn’t want the car back. After paying off the relevant costs he didn’t bother to take it back. But the company delivered it back anyway because it can’t be kept rotting in a warehouse.
He wore a white cotton shirt, his favourite and a nice pair of brown chinos. Dressed his Sunday best, Lewis headed downstairs to make breakfast. Breakfast consisted of toasted bread with some Jam, and 2 mandatory cups of strong black coffee.
Lewis lived in the English countryside. Not many neighbours in the vicinity. He had an extensive collection of cars, half were given to him by his late father. But the one that was delivered last night had some history with it.
Ever since what happened last year, Lewis had changed, and not the kind of good change, the indescribable kind. September 8th, Enroute to Edinburgh, Lewis at the wheel of his 1975 Jaguar XJS, and the love of his life beside him; Anna Davis. Somewhere near Beattock, at around 8pm, while passing over a bridge an oncoming truck swerved into their lane causing Lewis to cut in the other direction, which then inevitably made them collide with another two vehicles in their own lane and the Jaguar just missed going into a nearby lake.
12 hours later, Lewis woke up in the hospital. The Doctor told him that he’s lucky to be alive, even with 3 broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder and a lot of bleeding. But he didn’t care about how he’d managed to stayed alive, all he wanted to know was where Anna was. Painstakingly the doctor broke it to him,
‘when you swerved your Jaguar to avoid the truck, you ended up hitting two more vehicles and Anna suffered fatal injuries from that impact, the airbags did nothing to save her, the Car is a wreck, yet somehow you survived.’
Fast forward to 8 months later. Lewis, still struggling with his grief, lived a lonely and isolated life. His parents made him go see a psychologist, because he was never the same cheerful person he was. He was told to make peace with his past, to let go of the guilt, forgive himself and to move on. The sooner he made peace with his inner demons, the sooner he could get on with his life. Because you see, Lewis blamed himself for her death.
At night when it got really bad he’d think to himself,
‘Its all my fault, If I hadn’t swerved away from the truck, she would have lived, maybe I’d have died, but at least she’d get to live…’
He was drowning in his own thoughts, he was his own enemy, inside him it was a house divided against itself.
While finishing his coffee, he looked across the table at the empty seat in front, Anna used to sit there. While smelling the hot coffee, he remembered how even on their first date 4 years ago how she never liked to drink coffee, but she loved the aroma, so she’d take his cup and just smell it. At the same time he kept hearing little bits of her voice in his head.
After cleaning up breakfast, he went to put on his shoes, he wore a nice pair of chestnut coloured oxford brogues. While tying his laces, he looked up and saw a portrait of her in the living room, actually it was a portrait of both of them, but usually Lewis never made eye contact with any picture of Anna, he’d actually forgotten this portrait was there, every other picture of Anna was put away. This was the first time he had looked since the incident. He could still feel the warmth of her radiant smile, as she looked down at him.
He grabbed the keys to the car and walked towards the garage. Most of the cars were covered up, except for the few he used regularly. Even with the cover on he could distinguish the silhouette of the Jaguar. He lifted the cover off and walked towards the drivers door while running his hand across the smooth metallic body.
Lewis couldn’t really believe he was doing this. One part of him wanted to have this car demolished and turned into scrap, but he took a step to be brave and make peace with his past. With a big step of courage he unlocked it and got in. As he closed the door, it felt very nostalgic, the car smelt the same, the leather steering wheel still felt really good on his hands, as it always did. He started up the engine, the sound was majestic and deep down he had missed the sound of that roaring 12 cylinder engine.
Once he took the car out, he closed the garage door behind him and just as he was about to drive onto the main road he stopped, just to recollect his thoughts. He looked to his left where Anna used to sit, and Lewis smiled for the first time in months, with a tear in his eye. As he put the car into the first gear and started moving, he felt like crying all over again, he hadn’t cried since the funeral. But he didn’t try to stop the tears. He let it all out, holding the steering wheel with one hand and wiping his eyes with the other.
Lewis felt free and liberated, a heavy burden taken of his chest. Those tears weren’t of sadness anymore, they were of love and joy. He had finally made peace with his past and forgiven himself for what happened. A lesson we can all learn.