|November 1—November 2
“I did it.”
“No, I mean I did it.”
“And I mean I know.”
“I killed her.”
“I’m not joking.”
“I didn’t say you were.”
“You’re handling it very well.”
“I’ve had a while to get used to the idea.”
“When did you know?”
“This morning, at the jail.”
“What gave me away?”
“You never could lie to me, man. I know you.”
“I wonder if I’m going to Hell.”
“I think most religious people wonder that.”
“Do you think I’m going to Hell?”
“Not any more than I think I’m going to Hell.”
“That wasn’t really an answer.”
“I doubt there really are any answers.”
“What’s going to happen to me?”
“Tell me everything.”
And when the story is done: “What’s going to happen to me?”
He takes her face in his hands, and he turns it so that she is facing him. “I did it, do you understand me?”
“Give me the knife in one bag, everything else in another—you made it this long without touching anything with your bare hands, so try to keep it up.”
“Jackson, that can’t…I can’t…”
“I have a plan. Just do what I say.”
“I can’t let you take the blame.”
“Do you trust me?”
“Yes.” Not a moment of hesitation.
“Then do what I say. It’ll be okay.”
She stands up, goes inside, and returns with two plastic grocery bags.
He takes them to his car, throws them carelessly into the back seat, and returns to the porch.
“What’s going to happen?” She asks.
“It’s all going to be fine,” he says. He lights a cigarette, hands it to her, and then lights another one.
“What are you going to do?”
“If I tell you, you won’t be surprised.”
“But it’s going to be okay?”
“I promise.” And that’s all it takes. She relaxes. Jackson has a plan, and he promises that it will be okay, and he only does that when he’s sure.
They smoke in silence, and it is a nice silence. Familiar sounds, familiar darkness, familiar feelings.
He finishes his cigarette, and looks at it sadly. “I guess that’s it.” He drops it to the ground and crushes it with his shoe.
“They kill you, anyway.”
“True. All right, man, I’m outta here.”
“Yeah, I should go to bed, too.”
“You should. You really should.” He stands up, a little wobbly, and is glad that he only has to drive a few blocks home. He will drive under the speed limit, he will concentrate fully, and he will make it home safely. Which is a little ironic. “I love you, Sammy.”
“I love you, too.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow.” It’s the only lie he has ever told her.
When he gets home, he takes another drink of tequila and sits down to write his last email.