She died that night. When she was just 8 years old. Now, 20 years later, her killer was at her mercy. A hopeless invalid, he was dependent on her for his very existence.
As she spoonfed him every morsel or wiped his mouth after every bite, she was careful to avoid any physical contact as far as possible. She specially avoided his eyes and his hands. The eyes which used to seek her out from every hiding place. The hands which then pulled her on his lap and then onto his bed to do unspeakable things. Oh yes, the hands which strangled her innocence to death on the night she turned eight.
She wondered what was wrong with her. Why was she helping this man live, when she had prayed for his death every single day in the last two decades? He had destroyed every emotion in her - love, trust, respect and left her only with hatred. She felt hatred with an intensity that was overwhelming and destroyed everything in its path. Over the years this hatred had become her only reason for survival. She had planned vengeance and was ready to extract her pound of flesh as soon as fate bestowed her a fair chance. Now she had that chance. Then why couldnt she bring herself to destroy her tormentor and satisfy her hatred once and for all? She then realised that perhaps he had won again. Just seeing him lie totally helpless on that bed had snatched even the hatred from her. He now left her with nothing.
As she turned to put away the glass of water from which he had just sipped a few drops, she heard a hoarse whisper. Startled she turned around. It was the first time he had spoken to her since she had returned to look after him. She strained to hear the words coming out of his twisted, saliva dripping mouth. She bent closer and closer.....and then she heard them...the words she had waited to hear for all these years. He was finally saying, 'I am sorry'
It all came back with a rush. Every emotion, long dead, surged through her heart. Pain, rage, grief, hatred and even a fleeting sensation of deep love which she had once felt for this man, filled her being. A deep sense of calm descended on her as she slowly came back to life. She brought her mouth close to his ear and uttered the words which finally destroyed him. She softly whispered, "I forgive you, Dad"