There’s that phrase – “A blessing in disguise”
I wasn’t sure how to weigh anything in my life. Blessings and curses, pros and cons.
There are times where the coin lands on its edge and part of you is hoping it falls the wrong way.
But I digress.
Thoughts like that are for later, and we’re not quite there just yet.
3117 Harwell Ave. was nothing spectacular. A standard home. It had pictures on the mantle, pictures on the wall. An older woman that I imagine what the man’s mother. A picture of seven people, none of them looked like the man who lived there, but then again there were a few kids in the group…maybe one of them was him.
It lacked more than it offered, though I can’t rightly say what I thought I was going to find. A giant statue of Jesus? The Shroud of Turin? A splinter from the cross of crucifixion? A bazooka that shot holy water grenades?
In the middle of my thoughts, I heard the slithering sound within my mind like a snake made of hard bristles was winding around, spinning as it inched through my head. It had begun to happen more frequently since the night of my visitation.
How many words had I used? How many had been taken from me? What were the rules of this game? Were there any? Were they being made up on the fly?
The sound of mumbling brought me out of my thoughts, and for that I was thankful. A sort of blessing in disguise. To be taken from that moment of torture.
But then it was to be roused awake from a nightmare to find a dagger plunged into your side.
This particular dagger was named Kevin Arnold Webber, and he’d put up more of a fight than I would have thought he had in him. Maybe it was adrenaline. Maybe he was just a doughy, middle-aged man that didn’t have enough fight in him. Maybe hell thought it would set a bad precedence if one of their little soldiers couldn’t even subdue some random jack-wad in the suburbs.
Reasons and explanations aside, he ended up on the losing side of a game called “Tie a man to a chair with rope and put a strip of duct tape around his mouth.”
It’s not a fun game. I don’t recommend you play.
I found myself hesitating…for obvious reasons.
I needed to understand, even though I felt sure that there would be little understanding to be had. Even if I found something, would that actually make it easier?
If I’d found holy relic, or object of divine providence, would it really have allowed me to justify killing him? At the end of the day, he was still going to be a casualty because he was on this side of a line, and I was on the other. I was a bullet in another man’s gun trying desperately to rationalize why I was speeding toward his forehead so that I didn’t have to feel bad about exiting with his brain matter trailing behind me like the tail of a comet.
Words can’t explain the depth of fear and remorse when you’re standing there with a knife trying to make yourself kill another person. A person you don’t know. A person who, by all rights, has no need to die. All the while knowing that if they live…
So you mull over how to do it. If you have to kill, at least be humane, right? Make it painless. Is there such a way?
All those movies and TV shows make it seem like little more than flipping a switch. A stab here, or a few pills of this or that and hey, presto…they’re dead. It’s so quick. It’s so easy. It looks painless. Almost gentle. A blessing, really. A blessing in disguise.
Wouldn’t he be better off? No bills or job to worry about. Maybe he’s alone here because he had a wife and she left him. I’d be sparing him the journey through a cruel world.
He looked at me with eyes that said “Please don’t” even while his mouth moaned and mumbled words that were little more than strings of random vowels.
Tears soaked my own hands making my grip on the kitchen knife all the more precarious.
I remember sitting there with the blood of his arterial spray on my hands and clothes, tears streaming for what I’d done. Part of me wanting to scream and curse, to burn through my words and just let it be done.
But as people go, we’re often bigger cowards than we’d like to admit. But then, we’re also contradictions. People who want to let go but can’t stop holding on.
When the door opened, I didn’t even think to look. I didn’t care. I didn’t want to know.
Until I heard the voice…
The small, shaking voice that said, “Dad?”
There are times in life that we are given decisions. Terrible decisions. We must figure out who and what we are and hold to that moment like driftwood in a raging ocean. We must weather that given storm and hope we make it to land. All the while, we find ourselves wondering if we’ll step upon the shore as something better than we were before.
It didn’t take long to hear the sirens.