Regret by Annette Dunlea
Published in Carrigdhoun Newspaper 27th Feb 2010 p.24
Abstract: In a hospice Seamus refused to die until he confessed his sin. As a young man he had secretly killed his girlfriend Finola Dineen.
As he lay in the hospice bed in Cork Seamus cried as he said his last confession to the hospice priest. He had just received his last rites but he could not die without confessing his dark sin. He wept as he whispered shamefully to Fr. O’Connor: “It has been forty years since my last confession. This is a difficult truth to speak but I cannot die without confessing my sin and receiving absolution. I am afraid to die as I harbor a dark sin from my past. I once killed my ex-girlfriend and it has haunted me all my life”. Fr. O’Connor had thought he had heard everything until now but he was shocked but he kept his composure perfect. He strained to listen carefully intrigued hanging on to every word and looked as this frail little man dying of cancer, a devoted husband and father of two who was a successful and celebrated surgeon and his mind could not reconcile what he was hearing with the man he had become friends with over the last year in the hospice.
Fr. O’Connor gently asked him to say his confession in his own time. The priest listened in silence mouth open and alert. Seamus began: I loved yachting as a hobby and soon became so skilled I began to enter competitions. As a medical student I worked hard so I played hard. I was young and in my prime nothing could go wrong, bad assumption. Yachting became addictive to me like a drug, I sailed fast with the wind in my face and oxygen poured down my throat, pushing the yacht to go faster and faster. I have always been competitive at college and work but with yachting it had assimilated into my private life without me noticing it. While yachting I felt alive and free something I rarely felt these days.
I have been yachting all my life. That is why what happened in Crosshaven during the races tore me up inside all my life. I killed Finola. I am a murderer. He sobbed hysterically and wiped the tears from his eyes. The priest offered to allow him stop and pray to God for mercy but no Seamus cried I want to no I need to say it out loud unpurge the agony from my soul. He took a sip of water and wiped his eyes. He continued when I was only 23 years old when I attended the Cork yachting week for the International yachting competition. It lasted a whole week and was called Cork Week. It started as a holiday adventure that was to change my life forever. I entertained my yachting colleagues at the Crosshaven Yacht Club. This was the dream holiday I had planned. Good company, good sailing and good weather I could ask for nothing more.
In Crosser as we called it I met an Irish girl called Finola who was part of my professional yachting team I had recruited online. There was an instant chemistry and meeting of minds with Finola Dineen and myself. Finola was a model with a leading Cork modeling agency and worked part-time in a top Cork boutique. She was clever, funny, sexy and pretty everything I liked in a woman but she was married to a dentist Frank. She was not mine to love but another man’s. No matter how often I said this my brain and heart couldn’t reconcile it as I loved her and obsessed about her all day every day. I asked her out but she always refused. I decided to work on a good friendship and then seduce her. I wined and dined her. She had long brown hair, brown eyes and a sexy figure. She wore very skimpy clothes while yachting. Often she sunbathed topless on deck. It both excited and tormented me all at once.
It took me all of two months and many dates before Finola gradually warmed to me. She began to sit up close to me, buy me pints and stare into my eyes hanging on my every word and touching my knee. One night she asked me for a spin home and she kissed passionately that was the point of no return. We decided to turn the car and go back to my house in Currabinny and spend the night together. We grew closer and soon we were inseparable as if we were husband and wife for years. We could talk about anything. She cooked for me. She laughed at my bad jokes. She contacted a solicitor for a legal sepration she was prepared to walk away from her husband and home for me. It had to be love. She admitted she had been teasing me all along and wanted me to see if I was worth risking her marriage for, I was as it turned out.
One night when courting Finola we went out to sea on our own for a private party. We were celebrating we had just decided that this was not a holiday romance but the real deal and we were going to move in together. We danced on deck drinking and making love. We were in love and together and no body and nothing were going to steal us of our chance of happiness. We drank at least three bottles of wine and partied, partied, partied. I passed out drunk on deck. She was lying on my chest asleep. She must have risen at some time during the night to go down to the cabin and the winds turned the boat suddenly and she fell overboard. She was naked with no lifejacket and very drunk; she had no hope of surviving. I was asleep I did not hear her screaming. I was in a drunken stupor. Don’t you see Father I was the captain was in charge of the boat and my crew but I acted irresponsibly and got drunk and inadvertently killed my lover. I also tried to break a holy marriage contract. I was inviting my own downfall. I woke with a hangover and no Finola at my side. I called her but no reply came. I ran through the yacht to find her. There was only one conclusion Finola had fallen over board. I got on my radio and called for the coast guards to come and help search for her. I turned the boat and went back as I came hoping to find her clung onto a rock or floating at sea but it did not happen. She was officially lost at sea. For three days and three nights we searched the Atlantic Ocean and finally she was washed onto Garryvoe beach naked and dead. She was found by a local man taking his dog for a walk. That was it that was the day that part of my life died never to return. I blame myself for her death and I always will but I am glad I have repented for my secret sin. Fr .O’Connor recited his Latin prayers and granted his much wanted absolution to Seamus. He reached across and held his hand and began to speak to him when he noticed he was dead.
Causes Annette Dunlea Supports
The National Council of The Blind, Ireland