As Chris continued to stare into the fading circles, new faces began to appear, as if at that moment a handful of pebbles had been tossed into the pond. Surprisingly, the faces were his own. He saw his own faces appear one after another—fury, rejection, criticism, callousness, vindictiveness. He saw his own portraits of cruelty and contempt toward his family. His own face striking the same poses and assuming the same contortions of hate and ugliness he had just seen before in others. It was a mirror he had never been willing to look into, and now that he had, the pain was excruciating.
He started to turn away from the watery reflections when he was caught and held by the arresting, penetrating gazes of The Mister and Missus. Though he resisted with all his might, he found himself involuntarily turning back to his portraits in the pond.
“It’s awful what you did to them,” said The Missus. Chris was stunned. He had been expecting unconditional sympathy from the kind, old couple. They had been the very picture of grandparently acceptance. And now this- the intimation that Chris was not guiltless.
And yet surprisingly, he could see no condemnation in their eyes. In an instant it was all so clear. The indictments he had for years so meticulously logged against others’ accounts, he now knew he must tally to his own as well.
“You’re right,” he said, “You’re right”. Chris struggled to keep back the tears. The Mister put his hand on his shoulder as they stood speechless, looking into the water. Chris began to weep softly and then couldn’t help himself from falling to his knees. The Mister and Missus knelt alongside him, arms around his shoulders.
Nothing was said for a long time until finally The Mister reached into the pond and cupped a handful of water and gently poured it over Chris’s bowed head. It ran down his face, mingling with his tears, falling silently into the earth.
The gesture would have seemed very odd if it hadn’t felt so wonderful. The Missus was humming softly the tune Chris had been trying to remember.
And now it seemed that the lake and the very landscape itself were humming the tune. A bit of a phrase seemed to materialize in his mind. “…Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon My breast.”
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