For those who have read Wuthering Heights. What if Heathcliff had betrayed Cathy?
What if Heathcliff only loved Cathy because she belonged to the ‘gentry’ and what if, to seek revenge for the wrongs done unto the low working class, he pretended to love Cathy? What if the only redeeming factor of Heathcliff’s character, that of loving Cathy absolutely, is just a lie?
And with Cathy’s death, Heathcliff is forever haunted by her memory because he knows in his heart of hearts that she did love him. Truly. His conscience works overdrive after Cathy’s death.
A short story. Cathy and Heathcliff
I saw her on the bed. Weak, fragile and close to death. Those haunted, empty eyes, not really seeing. I couldn’t believe this was the Cathy I had once professed love for. Even then I knew it wasn’t love. It was a seething temptation to teach the rich a lesson. Seeing her now, in this state, though pulls at my heart strings. So much vitality and strength, now, rotting. The beauty that still lingers in the shadow of her cheeks. A sudden movement from her, she was indicating for me to come closer. I did.
‘I had always believed that only those people who are supposed to teach me something valuable about life enter my life. Every now and then I sit and think of the complicated layers of emotions a being can feel at any given point of time. It’s not just happy or sad. Sometimes you are happy and sad, both.
Thinking of you as someone who was to be no more in my life, reflecting on the moments we shared together I went on with my life. Heathcliff, you said, ‘I am happy we met, in life I mean. I really am.’
You made me feel like no one ever did. Special and liked. You put up with everything I put you through. I could talk about anything and everything with you. I could share everything with you. And I did the same for you. I remember only the good things. Of course I remember the bad things, but I try not to think about it too much. But the betrayal of what I thought of as sweet love is too deep to forget. I covered for you, didn’t I? I protected you at the cost of my image and reputation. And all you ever did was betray me, tell on me and spoil whatever little value I had for myself in my own eyes. I was innocent. I loved you without any prejudice. I sought to prove to you that I trusted you. And for all that I did, you paid me back with your betrayal. Answer me now, honestly, did you ever love me? For a second even?”
‘Aah, Cathy Cathy, I am not a bad guy.’
‘Then why would you let me marry L? I am going to die Heathcliff. That is for sure. And when I do, my memory will haunt you forever. For you know what I did do for you. You know I did love you. You know I protected you. I shall not fight or argue with you on this. I shall die and you will forever regret the things you did. You might not share it with anyone. But you will know. And you will suffer. Although I don’t wish for you to do so.’
Her voice faltered and she closed her eyes. Before I could utter an apology she passed away. Her tiny, frail body gleaming ghostly white. Even in death she looked troubled. That memory shall forever haunt me, I know. But I’m limited. I lost you.