by Juliette Hampton, Must the past stick to our soles like gum ?
When O. crawled into the dark of the night to make sure that no enemy would take them by surprise, he took out of his pocket a small strand of strawberry flavoured gum. He looked furtively around him. If anyone caught him eating it, he would most definitely be in trouble.
O. could not help it. This tiny act of rebellion reminded him of A., his young sister, who would always slip him a piece of gum when they were running away from outside terrors. She was the one dressed all in black. The family member he loved the most. The mute one, whom he had seen the landlord attack, when she was six years old.
O. felt his heart clench in old anger. He breathed deeply. In the twenty-eight years of life he had lead, he often wondered why this image was the one he remembered in the most intricate details. O. shook his head and brought some sense back into himself. Now, those past emotions were behind him. O. had seen the Truth, and had yielded to it. All now was Right, Ordered and above all, Pure. It was very much unlike those times on the drugs, or that time that he suddenly remembered in a flash, when Mommy came back home late one night screaming and crying at them, telling them they were a mistake, how her life choices had been nothing but failures. “I am nothing!” she had dramatically shrieked in their faces, before collapsing at O.’s knees. O. had sent A. to bed with a gesture of his hand. Mom smelt of the bottle she hid in her purse. And O. had stroked her long, dark hair all night, for lack of another man in the house to do so.
He got scowled at, at school the next morning. “I am concerned for you, your grades are failing”, had whimpered the science teacher. Dumb bitch.
“Forgive me my God, for my life of sin”, murmured O.. The soft air of the night caressed a promise against his bearded cheek. O. closed his eyes to God’s whisper, bathed in the strength he felt coming from Him.
Who could ever hurt O. anymore?
The past, now, simply needed to be erased. It could not be that complicated. All he needed was faith.
After a while staring at the ruins in which his camp had been set, O.’s gum lost its taste. He walked silently towards Baal temple, and spat the gum under one of its pillars.
No one would ever find it there. The old idol was to be bombed in the morning.