The Enchanted Press Part 23
It took a moment for my tongue to translate the words racing across my mind. “I-I don’t understand. Peter told me it was your mother.”
Sen, a sorrowful look on her face, gave a terse nod, hands wringing continuously. If she had her wand, I imagine sparks would have erupted from the tip and flown everywhere. “I know what Peter told you. It’s the same story my mother forced me to tell everyone as part of my punishment.”
Her face crumpled at some distant memory; her voice filled with a remorseful plea. “I was young and had become impatient with my training. My mother forbade me to use the crystal that opens the portal, but I—”
She turned her tortured gaze on me, her eyes imploring me for some small measure of understanding. Despite the youthful suppleness of her skin, I saw the echo of the long years of guilt reflected in her eyes; it aged her tenfold.
And truth be told, I understood all too perfectly. My friend, on that fated night, I had also defied my parents. They had warned me not to break curfew, but I was young, impetuous, and seized with a moment of daring. So, I stole from my house, through my first story bedroom, and wandered through the dark in search of nighttime adventures. Sadly, I found them.
“My mother thought banishment would be too easy a sentence for me, so she took the blame, and gave me the sole responsibility of the portal along with the knowledge that her banishment was my doing.” Her voice broke on a sob. “I can never see her again.” She caught her breath. “I wanted to tell you how terribly sorry I am for everything that you and your family suffered.”
As I watched Sen struggle with the repercussions of her mistake, a surge of pity overcame me. Our families had both suffered much for our juvenile, foolhardy behaviors, and I wondered, should children pay their entire lives for a childhood mistake? The decisive answer came just as quickly, no!
Like poison being drawn from a wound, my anger ebbed, the constriction on my heart and chest loosened; for the first time in years, I took a solid, deep, cleansing breath that left me untroubled and refreshed.
With a softhearted smile, I laid a hand on top of Sen’s. “It’s okay,” I whispered.
Unprepared for my benign reaction, she gaped at me and pulled back. “What?” she asked, suspended in disbelief.
“I forgive you.”
Sen shook her head. “I don’t understand. How can you forgive what I did?”
“Because I’ve finally forgiven myself for the part, I played in it too.”