The Truth

angel

  It’s a bright day, bright but cold, and the main drag is surprisingly empty. The four of us – Lindsay, Deanne, Jeremy and myself – are sitting around a small table outside an almost hidden bistro that you wouldn’t know was there if it wasn’t for the flag flapping above its door, beating against the wall with a loud clap every time a gust of wind blows down the street.

  My social aptitude has never been found wanting but Lindsay puts my friend-making abilities to shame. We’ve only been at our new digs for all of two months and already she’s become encased in a solid little circle of friends, which – in turn – are of course my friends. Our subs are on the table, untouched due to a tangent of conversation that has been running since the waiter set them down, and my concerns with the new job that have been gnawing at me in the quiet moments are long forgotten.

  “It’s gotten so warm,” Deanne states to her husband as the talk lulls and we begin to eat. As Jeremy distractedly agrees – he’s trying to get the waiter’s attention for more drinks – I steal a glance at Lindsay and she shoots me a subtle smile in return.
  “So,” Deanne says, turning my way as she gives up on Jeremy’s attentions, “how did you guys meet?”

  There’s an awkward pause from me as I look again to Lindsay – for help? an escape? I’m unsure myself – the truth isn’t exactly polite conversation over lunch. The night without warning, no storm – quite balmy, if anything – no indicator of what was to come. The game blaring out from the living room so loud it reached me in the study. The Panthers were winning. No doubt about that. The crack from upstairs. Unmistakable. I’d remembered the sounds from when he’d taken me hunting. The nine seconds between that and me opening the bathroom door and all the slow-motion running in between, the scrabble up the stairs, calling out, “Dad?”. Somewhere inside I already knew – didn’t know why – but I knew. So much blood. I didn’t know a person had that much blood in their body. The gun hanging limply from dead fingers. The aftermath. The flashing lights. The sirens. Their questions. My questions. No answers.

  The angel in cops clothing. My angel.

  “High-school sweethearts,” Lindsay says, saving me again.

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~ by Joseph Blame on February 12, 2011.

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