The reckoning

Published 10:19 am Wednesday, January 9, 2013

She shoved it from her mind. But this — this obstinate judge — awaited her visit.

How dare he cast his condescending gaze upon her! She had rights too! Why, what decrepit soul devised these rules of play? Who decreed the penalties that ensued? This — this Javert! — dares assume such throne!

Why, she would write her own rules. Let the world be damned! She — if she must go it alone — would not succumb to this unwritten manifesto, this conjecture of mankind.

“What do you think, Tabby?”

The cat, lounging in her owner’s lap, gave her soothing “purr” while being stroked along her backline. Her eyes, barely open, blinked occasionally as if lost in pleasure. She licked her paws and glanced at her owner with accepting eyes.

“Why can’t everyone be like you?”

Tabby jumped from her comfortable abode as Jennifer rose and walked to the window. She gazed out with a sigh.

The serene landscape posed such contrast to her unrest. Would she succumb? Would she once again surrender to this relentless foe that followed her room to room, hallway to hallway, whispering his entreaties in her ear, beckoning her company? Just a visit!

At some point, she could not say when, for one never knows these things; the battle was lost.

Not as a result of a full-fledged assault, but rather relentless raids on her flanks and the gradual weakening of defenses such that at some moment in time the tide swung in the opponent’s favor and seized momentum.

Jennifer knew it. It was familiar territory that had seen many conflicts, skirmishes and wars. The same porous defenses had been erected before, only to be overwhelmed and dismantled.

And now it awaited, as if the holidays had provided fresh fodder. The solitary sentry. The silent call. The voiceless invitation.

Like one on her way to the gallows, Jennifer climbed the 12 steps to the second floor. She walked inside the small room and disrobed for full advantage. Somber, with downward glance, she stepped onto the scales.

REX ALPHIN of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His email address is