“So do you want to talk? It’s ok if you don’t. I just want you to know that I’m here for you. If you need anything, I’m here. I’ll listen.”
“Why are you so nice to me?”
“It’s got nothing to do with being nice, I’m your friend. I care about you, I see something is wrong and I’d do anything to help you.”
“That’s a pretty bold thing to say. I’m a very literal person, if you say something like that, then I will expect it. Be careful what you say.”
You’ve killed people. Women . . . children . . .
“I mean every word I’m saying to you. If you weren’t so damn stubborn then maybe you could see where I’m coming from.”
“I’m not stubborn.”
“Yes you are.”
“No I’m not.”
“Are you kidding me? You’re the most stubborn fucking person I’ve ever met. You need a fucking jack hammer to get through to you. And that right there should tell you that I care. Because I wouldn’t even bother trying to reach you if I didn’t give a shit. You are such a pain in the ass. . . Fuck, what more do you want from me?”
“What else do you want me to say?”
“Not that you’re sorry. Take a fucking chance here, open up, talk to me. Give me a chance.”
I stare at the ground for a while . . .
“I can tell you some things. Are you sure you want to hear them?”
“Yes. Talk to me.”
Tell her what you did.
“I had a strange relationship with my grandfather. I went to see him when he was in the hospital, dying. I went to his room, sat down, he looked at me, I looked at him and then he closed his eyes, moved his head back and forth, and told me he wasn’t going to hell. He just kept saying over and over, he wasn’t going to hell. I didn’t know what to say. And then he stopped, turned his head to me and said “You’re going to hell, Not me.”
“I asked him again and again what he was talking about. Why am I going to hell? Why is he telling me this? At this moment, at this point in his life, why is he telling me I am going to hell and not him? He’s lying there, fucking dying, at any moment, he is going to die. All I was trying to do was make some peace with him and all he can do is tell me I am going to hell. I couldn’t understand what he was talking about. But that was pretty much it. I walked out of the room and the next day he died. As a favor to my mother, I went to his funeral. That is the only reason. I love my mom, she wanted me there, and so I went.”
“Wow. That is messed up. I’m sorry. Maybe he didn’t realize what he was saying. Maybe he was all medicated and delusional. It’s hard to imagine what people are experiencing at the end of their life. And who knows what kind of meds and pain killers he was on.”
“Yeah, who knows. I guess there was just a part of me who thought maybe there would be this great moment of forgiveness and understanding.”
“What were you looking to understand? To Forgive?”
“Everything that happened.”
“A lot of things.”
“Good question. I’m still trying to figure it all out.”
“I don’t know. Something happened.”
“I’m kind of surprised at all this. This wasn’t what I was expecting. I said I knew some things, but this wasn’t it. This is all new to me.”
“Of course it is, why the fuck would you know any of this? You weren’t there, I never told anyone. Two people knew. One of them is dead. And the other . . . he don’t talk much.”
That’s right, he’s not a talker. But a killer . . . I think so . . . Why are you wasting her time with this? Tell her what really happened. Years later. He saw something in you . . . he made something in you . . .
God damn it, just leave me alone . . .
There is no alone. And you know I’ll never leave you.
“You’re right, I wouldn’t know any of this. I guess I just thought maybe you were going to talk about your wife. That’s what I was referring to earlier, I’ve heard some things . . . didn’t she get into a car accident or something?”
I see him now, taller . . . larger . . . crossing the street . . . coming toward me . . . flashes of anger and rage . . .
This is it you piece of shit . . . No more pretending . . . YOU ARE GOING TO ANSWER FOR WHAT YOU’VE DONE. . . TELL HER!!
“Yeah, you were married, weren’t you?”
“Yeah, I was married.”
“What happened to her?”