Bill dropped another log on the bonfire causing a splash of sparks. He sat down on the chair opposite David with the fire’s smoke as a curtain between them. They had not spoken for ten minutes. “I can’t believe I told you that,” David said, almost to himself. Another silent minute passed. Without looking up Bill said “I would have never guessed. I just...” Silence. He peered through the smoke and caught David’s eyes. “It doesn’t seem like something you would do.”
"What was I supposed to do?" David said, "I had no other choice.” He knew that wasn’t true. Bill poked at the embers in the fire, fixated on the wind-pulled flames. “I can’t imagine, Dave. I mean, I never...” His voice trailed off. David cleared his throat. “If I were put in the same situation, I guess I would have to do the same thing all over again. I know I would.” He looked over the fire to Bill for support.
Bill’s voice shook. “It’s OK Dave. I understand.” He really didn’t. “I still respect you.” He actually now feared him. He wished David had never told him. Now he was a part of it. He could never erase it. David, however, felt a weight off his chest. He was glad he told Bill, even though Bill barely knew the half of it.
© Steve Stucko