Chapter Two: Our Choice

The water is at my feet again. It laps at my toes tempting me to take a plunge. I see the face of this man of many staring back at me. We know more than we’d ever forgotten. The memories have come back in waves, breakers, and billows big enough to capsize the cargo ships full of containers stacked a hundred and fifty feet into the air. A thousand questions are pummeling my mind. First and foremost is the fear of what I have to do. I have to tell my wife something she is not ready to hear, something that will bring those waves crashing down upon her.

Will she leave me for what comes next? Will she leave me when she knows what I’ve done? She may have still loved me when I told her of the abuse and the fracturing of my personality, but she doesn’t know about the blades in kidneys, needles in necks and bodies buried in our past. She says she loves Jason, but she doesn’t know what made us hungry to hunt monsters masquerading as men.

I look at the water and see the man of many. I see the man who is no longer afraid of who he is and what he had become. I see instead the face of a warrior who has known weakness is better than strength. It is a man who knows forgiveness is power over those who hate. For the first time in my life, a free man’s eyes gaze back at me. I can choose. I can decide what will happen tonight. I have the freedom to hide and bury these Secrets back inside. I have the freedom to accept who I’ve been and confess The Secrets to my wife and find out if God’s people love even murderers, liars, and assassins? Would I tell my wife I’d been made to kill time and time again? Would I share My Lists with this woman of innocence? Would I tell her about the people who’d seen the face of her husband before they met Death? Would she ever see me as the same man? Would she still love me once she knew? Was there anyone who could love me once they know the truth?

I could not wait any longer. I couldn’t wait for a snuff film to surface showing me as a boy fighting another child to death with knives in dirt pits for sport and status. I couldn’t wait for my young teenage face to be on the news as I was used by another Brotherhood to kill one of their own. My Family of blackmailers and extortionists had plenty of devilish darts in their arsenal, and I would not let them play me like the puppet I’d been all my life. I would not let the fear rule me anymore. I knew there was no way to escape this brutal Underworld except through radical honesty and exposure to the light of redemption. Only on the surface could my broken heart find hope of rescue amidst the storm. I was no longer just a me but a we; and we would do something that will echo through the halls of our heart forever.

We left the path around the lake and headed home. The soil littered with pink pebbled stones crunched quietly under our feet. With the sun setting over the horizon we made our choice. We agreed it was the time we tell our wife who we are. It is time we tell her about Perrello, The Pit, about what we were to The Jesuits, The Brotherhood and why The Families had such an affinity for our ‘ways.’ It is time to tell her how we “Earned Our Keep” in The Trade. Finally, my wife would learn about Blade, Jason, and My List.

Eight years before my walk around the lake we met her. She took a path down a hillside in the mountains that changed it all. The steps she took on a Wednesday evening would lead her to a smiling young man covered with scars. Some of those scars showed through the skin, breaches of my flesh, which offered the astute a glance beneath my pleasant veneer. Other scars the ones, which had cut the deepest, were hiding behind the walls only survivors can build. It was in those vaults of my soul where Secrets too dangerous to speak were written in ledgers of regret. Before those Secrets could be spoken they would both need to become warriors for another Way. In time would come a child who would save his shattered soul and show him a new life.

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