Okay, I'll cop to it. I killed the little towheaded bastard.
I must say in my defense that it was a mercy killing. He had been dying for over ten years. I only finished the job.
By the end, his crooked-toothed smile had disappeared and I just could not bear the pitiful look in his sad blue eyes any longer.
I decided to put him out of our misery.
He knew that it had to be done. He was expecting it. There was a look of resignation, if not relief, when the end came.
Good riddance, I say. He was morbidly shy and had always felt inferior. There was just no place for the timid, tender-hearted little pansy in this man's world.
Better off dead.
When I look at old photographs of him now, I feel a small pang of remorse. But mostly I feel resentment at missed opportunity and squandered talents.
There were many others who were complicit in his death, but they were only doing what came natural. They were just living their own lives.
No, I'm the one who did him in. I cannot blame anyone but myself.
He needed killing, as they say, and I was only too proud to bring down the axe. His murder was my rite of passage and I accepted the task willingly.
The killing stroke was delivered and he was dead even before he hit the ground.
I did not look back. There was no body to hide. I just stepped into his shoes and walked away.
Emotionally bronzed, I raised up the shield that he had always been too weak to carry against the slings and arrows.
And what of all the baggage that he had dragged along by his chains?
I still keep it in a secret safe place. I return to it only rarely when I can shed my armor.
I pick through the scabs and scars and occasionally catch a glimpse of his ghost.
And then I stand up straight, put on my trappings once again, and get on with our life.