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My Own Words

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My Own Words
by
SandraD

     

Part One
My own words haunt me—condemn me.

"I did it! I killed Martin Fitzgerald! I killed Luis's father!"

How could things change so completely in one instant? Dear God, it wasn't supposed to be like this! I should have known. I should have known that things were too perfect, too wonderful. Never before had I felt a love so intense. I should have known that I couldn't maintain this happiness. I should have known I would find a way to ruin this—just as I've managed to ruin everything else.

Father was right. I have been a naughty girl.

But I didn't mean it!
I didn't!

Blood is on my hands. It won't come off. I keep rubbing them; they're raw now. Yet I can still feel it: sticky, salty, clinging to my skin like a cloak of guilt.

The guilt.

I deserve what I get.

I did it. I killed Martin Fitzgerald! I killed Luis's father!

How could Luis possibly love me after that? How could anyone ever love me?

But someone did love me.

Mother.

She appeared to me in a dream last night and told me to be strong. She said I would have to be stronger than she ever was. But Mother—surely she was the strongest woman ever! To have endured a marriage to my father for so many years….to live with the lies, the deceit, the coldness. How could anyone do that?

But she did love me.

I was her little princess. Sometimes I would catch her staring at me. She didn't have a great deal of stamina left after I was born; she never recovered, but the look in her eyes was all I ever needed to know. She loved me beyond any doubt, beyond any reason. It was always there, shining, illuminating her weary features.

I hadn't seen a look of such blind love until I looked into Luis's eyes on Christmas Eve. He held me so close to him, I was certain he could feel my heart beating—pounding actually—from being so near him. After so much time, after so many obstacles, he held my hands, tears in his eyes, and told me the words I had longed to hear for so long.

I love you, Sheridan.

I saw adoration, hope, a promise of wonderful things to come, when I looked into his deep brown eyes. Strange. I could have
anything I wanted in the entire world that money could buy, but it was Luis who gave me the greatest gift imaginable.

What did I have to offer in return? The hands of a murderer.

My eyes are squeezed shut, but I can still see Luis.
Please! I don’t want to see! I don’t want to!

Those same eyes that held dreams of a future with me—
with me!—now hold pain. Pain at knowing the truth, disbelief that sometimes the truth is more painful than the perpetuation of lies, and anguish—anguish for knowing what must be done.

I killed Martin Fitzgerald, and with him, Luis’s love for me.

Luis told me months ago when Dr. Russell performed hypnosis that he would never forgive the person responsible for his father’s disappearance. That person wasn’t deserving of mercy, and it was his intention to see that person brought to justice.

That person is I.

I must pay for my crimes. I must pay for taking a man’s life. Not just any man. Luis’s father. Pilar’s husband.

Pilar.

Every night for seventeen years, she’s lit a candle and said prayers, earnestly soliciting God for a miracle.

When I was a young girl, Pilar showed me more warmth than my own family. After Mother died, she held me as I cried. Oh, Father had insisted that crying was a sign of weakness. Cranes didn’t cry, but I did.

With her warm hands, she touched my wet face, wiping away the tears. With her soothing voice, she sang a lullaby. She rocked me, promised me that all would be right again, told me stories of her children, Antonio and Luis, and of her husband, Martin. Her eyes sparkled when she spoke of them. They didn’t have much, but they had love.

I took it away from them.

What kind of monster am I?

How could I do something like that and not even remember it clearly? I just don’t understand! It doesn’t make any sense!

"We tried to protect you, Sheridan, but our protection is no longer available. It is time that you face up to your actions," I hear Father’s booming voice say over the loudspeakers.

My head is spinning. I can hear the shocked rumblings of the guests at Ethan’s engagement party. Amidst it all, I hear Pilar’s imploring cries in Spanish. In my mind, I see Theresa’s quiet tears and sense Miguel’s confusion. But mostly I can feel Luis slipping away from me.

I open my eyes and look at him. I want to say something—
anything. How can I take away his pain? How can I make him understand when I don’t understand? How can I make him believe it’s going to be alright when I don’t know what will happen?

Words aren’t adequate.

The damage has been done.

Those were my own words, the harbingers of suffering.

Oh, dear God, what am I going to do?

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