The concept confuses me at first. Why regrets? What have regrets to do with anything?
As I lie in the dirt, I open my mind to the possibility. Hope kneels beside me, watching patiently.
Yes. I do have regrets.
I regret the day I walked into a bar on my own and lit my first cigarette. I regret the money that I have squandered and wasted. I regret the friends whom I allowed to slip away from me.
I regret all of the stupid decisions that I made and stupid actions that I took. I regret the arguments and fallings out. I regret the neediness and insecurity. I regret the laziness, and self-destructive behaviours.
I regret the mess I have made of my life.
Tears come unbidden into my eyes, and slowly trickle down my face before beginning to soak the dry earth below.
“No regrets.” I whisper.
Hope gently takes my hand.
“Now forgive yourself.” she whispers. “It is within one of the many gifts one can bestow upon oneself. It is within YOUR gift. You need not ask for forgiveness from any other quarter. Life has moved on but you have forgotten to move on with it. And that is not YOUR fault.” She motions towards the dead demon. “You blame yourself. Now it is time to stop.”
I stare at her and she returns my gaze as a small smile plays around her mouth.
I think and the tears come harder.
I am sorry. I am sorry for everything.
I am sorry for hating myself so much. I am sorry for denying myself the right to be happy.
I am sorry for the things I have thrown away. I am sorry for being my own worst enemy.
I FORGIVE myself.
Hope jumps to her feet, throws her head back and laughs at the sky above. She opens her arms wide in a gesture of joy. And suddenly it begins to rain. Lightly at first, before gradually growing heavier and heavier.
My subconscious registers it dropping on my skin, and beginning to soak my clothes. But I cannot take my eyes away from Hope. I gaze in wonder.
She is embracing the rain. It hits her face and soaks her hair. It trickles down her open arms and washes over her armour. Small trickles at first. But these soon become rivulets and then streams. The black blood which up to now has begun to dry on it now begins to wash away. I am watching a rebirth.
Hope laughs again in ecstasy and the earth begins to rend.
She now gazes upon me sternly.
“STAND!” she commands.
I climb to my feet.
“Now, open your wings!”
I cannot help but obey.
My wings open and I gaze upon them. And their beauty astounds me. A thousand shades of white and blue and purple adorn my eyes. And as I flex them instinctively, a hundred trumpets begin to blow. A thousand. A million.
I have become something else. I have become me.
In one fluid motion she sinks to her knees, and offers me her sword.
And I accept my birthright in silent thanks.
Now let slip the dogs of war.