“There is no witness so dreadful, no accuser so terrible as the conscience that dwells in the heart of every man.” Polybius
My conscience bothers me all the time. I can’t sleep at night, it keeps me awake. I can’t function during the day. I drink coffee non stop so that I don’t pass out from exhaustion at work.
Yesterday on the drive home from work, I almost killed a man. He was walking along the side of the road, just minding his own business. I knew I was too tired to drive, that I should pull over and take a nap. I also knew that no matter how hard I tried, sleep would never come. The smooth hum of the road, coupled with not sleeping in four days, caused me to black out. The rough gravel shoulder, violently shaking the car, woke me up.
When I opened my eyes, the car was going fifty miles an hour on the shoulder of the road, heading directly towards the walking man. The car was twenty feet away from the man, oblivious to what’s happening behind him. Without thinking, acting on reflexes only, I veered left, bringing the car back onto the road. The car missed the man by inches. If I had woken up one second later, that man would be dead. It scared me so much that I could feel my heart beating within my chest.
I don’t know how long I could go on like this. All I want is to lay down and sleep. Nothing else would make me happier. To be able to close my eyes, and to drift off.
Before I did it, before I committed that act, in my mind it was a logical act. I needed the money more than he did. No one would miss him. No one would miss any of the money. He was an evil person, who deserved what happened to him.
So why does my conscience bother me now that the deed is done? Why was it logical before, and so horrible now? All I can see when I close my eyes is that look on his face. That surprised look you get when someone you trust does something you would never expect.
All I see is that surprised look, while his last words keep playing over and over again in my head: ‘Why. Why. Why.”
Why is this happening to me? I don’t believe in God or the Devil, heaven or hell. I’m not a church going person. My conscience never bothered me before. I had always prided myself on not having a conscience.
I have to do something. I noticed the gun display in the sporting goods store the other day, and came very close to going inside. Is that what it will come to? Will that be the only way I can get some peace?