“Life has no victims.”
PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
He stood by the side of the road, shaking and shaken, trying to listen to the policeman’s questions.
“And when you….. blah blah blah….parked car…… blah blah blah……. Sir, are you listening?”
He snapped back for a moment, “Yes, yes, Officer.”
“Do you need to go to the hospital?”
“No, no Officer.”
The Policeman looked skeptical. “One more time. When you pulled into the lane, did you see the parked car before or after you hit it?”
He shook his head, confused.
“A simple question, sir. Before or after you hit the parked car?”
“But Officer, my car is the parked car!”
2 : a disagreeable necessity :obligation
Management has made it clear that the onus is on employees to ask for further training if they don’t understand the new procedures.
“I feel very fortunate that I never got into this business as a beauty queen. Even back in high school, the actors I idolized were the chameleons. That really took the onus off of what I looked like, and what a beautiful woman is supposed to look like.” — Connie Britton, quoted in The New York Times, 15 Dec. 2016.
Did You Know?
Understanding the etymology of onus is not at all burdensome; it’s as simple as knowing that English borrowed the word—spelling, meaning, and all—from Latin in the 17th century. We can also add that it’s a distant relative of the Sanskrit word for “cart” (a vehicle that carries a burden). English isn’t exactly loaded with derivatives of Latin onus, but the root did give us onerous (“troublesome”) and exonerate (“to clear from accusation or blame”—thus, “to unburden”). Additionally, our legal language has onus probandi, which is often shortened to onus. It means “burden of proof“—that is, the obligation of proving a disputed assertion in a court of law.
The disagreement hung there, all those years, between them with the solidity of an invisible brick wall. He went to war for a year, and when he came back, it was still there, that damned wall. Spent a year drifting here and there across the ocean. Still there. Missionary work in a country where the very faces of the children made him cry. A year spent roughing it deep in the Canadian forest. Even a year with her, trying for a way to be found.
Her last punishment happened where it had all begun. As she drifted away on her blow-up raft, he watched from the beach; watched until the tiny speck of her was gone. He hadn’t tried to save her because she hadn’t wanted to be saved. All her life, she’d been planning the coup de gras, spear from her heart to his. This time, she’d let the pain destroy her. Hating him, flowers, trees, cars. Happiness.
With a deep sigh, he picked up his towel and walked away, back towards their house. Their home.
“He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.”
― Michel de Montaigne,
“I like walking. Each step is a thought without words, a thought without words is a thought without blame, without retribution, without consequence.”
― Kate Griffin,