Apology: Weekly Discover Challenge


© irene waters 2016

Night shift was the hardest. Ralph would start drinking in the early afternoon, soon after starting his day. He expected me to sit with him. His jealousy extended to any activity which took me out of the room he was in. His anger would propel him to bring the rifle out of the cupboard terrifying me as he sat loading it or he’d roar off on his bike in a state that put both him and others at risk. As a result not only did I repel friendships but I let the housework suffer. Going to work was my only activity that I crossed him about. It made him feel small that I worked and paid the bills whilst he sat around the house. Night shift was the most difficult, however, as he’d be well on the way to being sozzled and get increasingly angry at my departure.

Tonight was no exception.

“If you go I’m going to top myself.”

“I’m sorry but I have to go. It’s too late to ring up sick.”

“But I need you.”

“I’m sorry. I’ll be home early.”

“You bitch. I won’t be around when you get home. You’ll be sorry.” Ralph was worse than normal tonight. He’d had a letter from his Father which had set him off into a depressive rage early in the day and it hadn’t given up. Alcohol only made him worse and tonight he was smoking dope as well. I left for work worried and feeling guilty for leaving him.

The feeling didn’t leave me. It was difficult to concentrate on my patients. I tried ringing to check that he was okay and tell him again that I was sorry I couldn’t  stay but the phone had rung out. When my supervisor came to do her rounds she found me with tears rolling down my face as I performed my duties. Luckily my patient was unconscious and unaware of my distress. For the first time I told someone what was happening at home. Before I knew it she had me down in the psychiatric ward having a consult with the nurse on duty.

“You don’t have to feel guilty and there is no  need to apologise.” the nurse said. “If he does put the gun to his head and pull the trigger did you place it there?”


“Exactly. It is his choice. You are not responsible for the choices he makes in life. They are his responsibility and his alone. There is no need for you to apologise for how he acts. You may feel sorry for him but you are not responsible for the actions he takes. You do not need to feel guilty as you are doing nothing.”

For the first time I felt my will to live return. I was not responsible. If he did something it was not my fault. I did not have to apologise or feel guilty. Finally I was capable of making my own choice.

In response to WordPress discover Challenge

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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16 Responses to Apology: Weekly Discover Challenge

  1. Wow!! Powerful! Hard hitting!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Danny James says:

    A lot of people can relate to this. Well written.


    Liked by 2 people

  3. MimiTa says:

    This is such a powerful, intense story. Very well-written and beautiful. (haha I’m still reeling from its impact & trying to digest your story.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jan says:

    Fantastic picture and the story going along with it, perfect. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jules says:

    Great piece. Compelling.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I especially like how smoothly the dialogue rolls out. We know exactly what is going on, yet you don’t overstate things—there is a ring of truth to this story. Good writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Weekend Coffee Share: 22nd May 2016 | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  8. Pingback: A piece of Advice: Weekly Discover Challenge | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  9. Sadly, I fear this is a true story in so many households. We allow ourselves to be held hostage to people who should not be in control of anything.
    I’m so glad the duty nurse was compassionate.

    Liked by 1 person

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