“It took me decades
to find that one good part
of me, the one that makes
all the crap I’ve done worth it.
And I killed it.
I took its beautiful face in my hands,
kissed it gently goodbye,
and sent it to whatever comes next.
Why would I do that?”
How could I answer that?
“I knew her for a grand total of 3 minutes.
3 minutes, Padre.
Not even long enough for a smoke, but
long enough to learn her name,
have that talk, and kill her.”
Silence then, the kind of silence that only comes from condemned men. I waited.
“Death, I understand. Killing, I understand.
But that’s complete. Total. Not pieces of something.
When I kill someone, there’s nothing left.
Just like I know when they put that needle in my arm,
there’ll be nothing left. That doesn’t mean anything to me;
it’s how things are. Live, work, die.”
That’s when it started to come together for me. How he was captured; the trial; the look on his face when he was sentenced. It wasn’t a look of silent fear that came over him; it was a look of silent relief. He had wanted to be caught; he had wanted the death penalty. There was nothing that the world could do to him that was in any way worse than what he had done to himself.
“For the first time in a long time, I feel glad – no,
happy about something. I’m actually happy.”
Interesting. “How so?“
“I’m happy this is finally over.”
Just as I was about to speak, he stood up; the warden and guards were at the door, waiting to take him down his final path.
“Don’t worry, Padre, me and her will give ol’ Lucy a helluva time for ya. Ha! ‘Helluva time’… that’s a good joke, boys, you should write that one down…”