I met her vacuous eyes, pleased she always gave precedence to my words over others’.
“Forget her! Leave! She’s made her choices, now let her wallow in them!”
“Her children, my grandchildren. They’re still babies . . . .”
“Listen, dear, what’s she ever done to deserve your love?!” I asked, choking back my philosophical angst: can love be love if it’s only deserved?
Maybe she’d have abandoned them without my uttering a word.
But I did.
Now I walk as one divided, my head shorn, then healed, then shorn repeatedly by Hell’s demons.¹
1The judgment described is taken from Dante’s Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto 28, in which the poet describes the ninth ring of the Malebolge where makers of discord are condemned.
“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.” (James 3:5-9, bold italics mine)