To Define Revenge

As a train rushed past the abandoned garden, a smile tugged at my lips. It had not changed at all since the day I’d found it. The little ramshackle ruin, with its overgrown lawns, musty gazebo and incomplete fence held a special place in my heart. It was here that my life had changed.

It was a hazy autumn evening, and wearied by my aimless wandering, I had stumbled across this little retreat by accident. It had been abandoned mid-way through its development some years before and its gates were locked, but I had gained entry through a break in the fence. Large trees denied sunlight entry into the place, though little beams snuck through, laying down a net on the ground. The garden seemed eternally suspended in twilight.

My life, until that day, had been on a perfect trajectory, so that I knew not how to deal with the sudden crisis that had befallen me. I sat there, half dazed, till the dull lamps had come on, half-illuminating the great trees. Shadows danced when the wind swayed their boughs, and the rustle of the leaves seemed to whisper in my ears:


I had been betrayed. Anger and sorrow filled my thoughts, obscuring any path forward. I had sworn revenge before I left. But what did that mean? What could I do against them? I had spent years working with them, so I knew how powerful they were.

In that moment of despair, I met him. We did not know each other, but he seemed to understand my suffering. He stood by me for a long time in complete silence. I welcomed his presence, for it felt warm and friendly. Then, he spoke a simple sentence – a tiny gesture of kindness. And that was enough.

That was many years ago. My life has never been better. The best revenge, it seemed, was to live a good life.

I left, that day, with the man at the crossroad. And that has made all the difference.

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