“You know, Elie,” said the skeleton, “in a way, the more compelling you make this manuscript, the more aggravating it’s going to be for you as you try to find an agent to help you find a publisher so you can both get paid for it.”
I’ve thought about that, obviously, but I’m not going there right now. One of the big themes of this story is your tireless and exhausting insistence that people cannot change their nature in any fundamental way. Intimately related: your belief that, once a line is crossed, one can never forgive.
“Well, there are times never to forgive. You’ve done the same thing yourself, numerous times, you know where that line is, you know exactly where it is,” the skeleton said quickly.
There are times not to forgive, we learn through aggravating experience, but there are also, most importantly, times to forgive. When someone truly repents, we should forgive. As we grow and change we learn the difference.
“Well, I’ll grant you that this argument was a major theme of our relationship, and one I was pretty much on the losing end of, as it turned out. It really did make me feel like shit as I was dying. I have to tell you, I was surprised and impressed by how you stood by my deathbed and heard my confession like a compassionate priest. I had still been a little afraid of a fight,” said the skeleton.
There never was a point to all the fighting.
“You had every right to be angry at me, God knows I did enough damage to you and your sister’s lives,” said the skeleton.
“Well, at least you got to hear, right before the buzzer, that you’d been pretty much right all along and I’d been the intractable asshole, not you,” said the skeleton.
Yes, very comforting, as you can imagine.
“Well, not ideal, I’ll grant you that, but, as they used to say when I was alive ‘better late than never,'” the skeleton gave a smile that could also have been a silent scream.
One more conversation would have been nice, I suppose.
“Well, that’s true. Now you’re stuck writing this book. I guess the joke is on you,” the skeleton turned his head. “I’ll get to have the last word after all.”
Sure you will, dad.