I have this image in my mind. 

I don’t know if it was developed from my imagination, or if this was something I’ve read or seen or heard.  

The image is of a man – a boy, really – a boy of 20years, or older, but looking younger. He sits, crouched in a cave, weeping over a body. He knows I am there. He can feel my presence, whether in capital-R-reality or his reality, I am not sure.  

He is tall and thin, gangly and hovering over the body of a young woman, maybe 13, 14 years old? He is weeping, distressed.  Much like I’d expect Lenny from Of Mice and Men, standing over the puppies he’d killed.  This man-boy killed his fair share of puppies, too, including this girl. 

He is wrought with dismay, crying, sobbing, weeping, constantly looking back at me, imploring. I don’t know what he wants from me.  Forgiveness? Aid? Empathy? I stand there, 15 years old, myself, but wise beyond my soul’s years, and I look at him. I look at him hard, and I look at him long. My eyes soften and my nose purses, which is my version of a pout.  

Then I open my mouth and take a deep breath in and I say, “Stuart? I forgive you.” and I cry.  And he cries. 

I put my arm around him and stand there, stoically, like a statue, or a figure in a painting. And we weep.

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