He stood in the rain to wash his sins away thinking it would do the trick, cleanse his soul, invigorate him once more, to be what he once was. That’s our hero, Viking Arel Tor, neighborhood leader, pointer of straight or straighter paths, finder of fame, good luck, saving for you the best lady of all in your welcome arms, for now and always. Viking’s way in the world.
But where did he go wrong, our Viking?
He had a marriage, but no wife. He had a job, but no career. He had a love, but no lover.
He simply was Viking Tor and all he wanted was forgiveness, but never knowing what for; where had he gone wrong, collapsed, sinned by the tons according to the way he felt, trying always to purge himself, cleanse his soul, come again to what he dreamt he was, though it fitfully drifted from him in a span of Time.
In the awed hours of query, quandary, total and endless wondering, he had stood by friends near and far, regardless of what their aims were, or purported to be: was that looseness a fault, was he guilty of it right from the outset? Was such simplicity bearable?
From his first realizations, he had been anointed by an evening star, so close, so far, but an arrow for its gleam, a momentous moment of glory, the torchlight across endless space, and never a collision in that openness, that variety of space and spaces, that thing that might have been called Infinity before its time by whoever reigned at the upper-most or the outer-most. And the rain, which had been sent, in every case, down through all those clouds billowing in its path, its route, its way, came he knew from His touch, from Him, from that distant Wonderness.
Viking showed no lament, no sadness, spilled no tears, about how or where he was cast and caste, yet a sinner who faulted, failed, did not come to the place he meant to be, dreamt to be, missed by miles, by poor targeting, by the narrowest of margins, a loser in some eyes, and his own not being the man he was meant to be but what he was, had become, a loser for some unknown reason.
At times Viking saw his silhouette as it stood beside the shadows of each day, the artful sense in how it is brought to be, vague, edgeless, like a mist barely detected on the rarest kind of days. The questions kept coming at him, a repeated thrust to his senses, a niche in his mind, that slim near-touchable line of space, that simple vein at the controls, the governing.
Then he saw her, in a crowd, a common lot, in the mix, and felt his heart leap at the beautiful symmetry, a pursed lip just closed on her last word on some unknown subject, a breath of pronouncement, a single word of closing, a subject molded by a supreme inventor, sculptor, yet brought to silence, Dez Arielle her name, her echo, her uttered whisper as she spoke to him without words. Often, he had dreamed such a coming for such a creature, clutching him for tenderness, for protection, for a return engagement.
But that translucent message ended in a consignment of his self for his stay in abrupt and total loneliness for a sin he did not commit, though judged by some perverse power taking control of him. Viking, at a loss, did not know if his sudden love had caused his slide into a kind of anonymity, seeing nothing, feeling nothing, knowing nothing, bereft.
Trying to pretend he might not have erred along the way, he hoped his stay in loneliness would not be fully served, that it flowed away as prompted, that his vague silhouette, as though tossed into smithereens, managed its way past and beyond objectives in a free-float designed for accidents. But there was a one-time flash of flesh that had triggered him, that brilliance not broadcast from any elsewhere, as though his sin had broken loose, his veins leaping for escape, and a single nerve becoming known by his senses? Stuffed was he, with a martyr complex, an OCD figure of the ages.
He found himself in the year of the universe for the planet, marked as 2022, about to descend on him, a desperado 200 years on the run from his sentencing, as counted by the Caretaker of Time, his clock of measurement.
He had body; it felt like body. It strained at an enormous leash swiftly severed in place, the loose whip of chance doing its damage, snapped it did at his body, at his person, at him at struggle, fighting for the slightest control of gaslighting or gas-lightened, a sentence of his own design.
How had he come to this? Only Time would tell, or the insistent rain all the way from forever.
Image by Roman Grac from Pixabay
5 thoughts on “ Standing in the Rain to Wash the Sins Away by Tom Sheehan”
Conscience makes duck feeders of us all. This is a beautiful bit of unease; the challenge of gaining forgiveness without any idea how to go about it. Well done as always.
Rich and gorgeous wordplay put to a poignant end. Wonderful!
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Beautifully written. Love the ending.
That the MC is a Viking, put me in mind of the sagas, where the heroes are fated but struggle against their fate to the last. I wondered if this was intentional? Grettir the Strong was a man with many virtues, but was doomed to be unlucky and ended up an outlaw.
Best compliment I can give is to say, this is up to your usual brilliant standard.
All the very best my fine friend.