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“Please!” He begged. “Give me another chance, I can do better!”  “I don’t know if I can.” She sadly replied. “You let me down...again” “I know I did, and I’m sorry, but I can change.” Tears began running down his face.  “You told me that the last time too.” She whispered.  “This time I mean it. Please.” She looked into his eyes for the first time during the conversation. He could see the regret in her face. The pain at what he had done and what he had failed to do. She broke eye contact and stared, tears in her eyes, as if seeing his betrayal all over again.  “Do you mean it?” She finally asked. “Yes, I mean it. I will be better.” “You have to take it seriously this time.” “I will!” “I will not give you any more chances.” The tone of finality in her voice made him shudder. This was his last chance. “Do you hear what I am saying? I will not forgive you again.” “I hear you. And I understand.” He slumped, the knowledge that he will not be allowed to fail again weighing heavy on his shoulders. “Ok,” She said. “Please, do not fail me again.” “Of course.” He rose to his feet and began his walk back to where the trouble all started. She watched him, tears threatening to fall from her eyes. She desperately wanted this time to be different. She wanted him to succeed. She needed him to succeed. She did not know what she will do if he does it again. Every time. She trusts him, and every time he betrays her.  He walked the longest walk of his life. He could feel her eyes on him. He fought the urge to look back but dared not. He cannot bear to see the pain and disappointment on her face. The pain and disappointment he had caused. He couldn’t believe he had done it again. He had failed in the same way so many times before, and he had begged for forgiveness just as many times. And like the angel she is, she always forgave him. Maybe he took it for granted that she would always forgive him. But this time is different. He can feel it. She is done offering forgiveness for his continual betrayal. If he fails again, she will never trust him with anything.  He stopped before the man inside the singing chariot, dressed in white. The man looked at him with sadness. He had seen the whole thing. He saw what he did, and he saw how he had hurt her. He always saw. “Trying to make amends are we?....again.” The man stated just as much as asked. His shoulders slumped further with guilt. He could not bring himself to look the man in the face, "Please, can you help me?” The man, the keeper of his redemption, gazed into his soul. “You have failed in this manner before.” He nodded at the man in white even though it was not a question. “I have watched this happen every time you have been before me. So tell me, why should I help you? Maybe I should leave you on your own. Maybe it would be a blessing for her to just move on from you. To never trust you again. To find someone who will not hurt her in such a way.” The man’s words cut him deeply, but he could not argue his point.  “Please, I beg you, save me one last time. If I fail, you will not see me here again. She will only be here with one she can trust. I will never darken her days with this betrayal again.” “You would leave her?” “No, of course not. I would never leave her. I am still capable of providing her with much of what she needs. But, I will acknowledge my failure in this aspect of her life. I will step aside for someone who can give her what she desires without breaking her trust.” “You would do this?” “Yes.” “To be clear, this will be your last chance. I will not help you again." For the second time, he heard a finality that made him want to weep. How had he sunk so low? The worst part is knowing he deserves the judgment they are both willing to pass on him.  "Before I help you, you must give me your word you will not fail this way again.” His stare boring into him,” Do you swear it?” “I swear it.” "Swear on your very soul, that you will never again commit such betrayal to one who has always found it in her heart to forgive you." "I swear." "Swear in a way that makes me believe you!" The man in white bellowed. He jumped at the sudden force in the man's voice. He recovered quickly and realized what he must do. He knelt before the singing chariot, and with a voice strong and determined he made his vow. "I swear on my very soul, on the souls of my ancestors long past, that I will never again commit this act of betrayal. I swear I will no longer think only of myself and will put her needs before my own! Or by the gods, I will never again disgrace this holy place with my foul stench of mindless selfishness!" He bowed his head to seal his oath, then rose to his feet to meet the man in white's gaze with resolution.  The silence stretched as the man in white searched him for truthfulness. Finally, a smile spread across his face, “Ok then, Chocolate peanut butter bar right?” “Yes please.” He replied.  “Ok, lucky for you I have one left.” The man pulled the ice cream just out of his reach before he could grab it. “This time, do not eat the little girl’s ice cream. It just makes you look like a bad person.” "Yes sir. And thank you for saving my bacon.....again." "Yeah, no problem. See you next week?" "We'll be here." With that, he paid and walked back to his six-year-old who was patiently waiting for her ice cream. 

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