Jennifer Brown

“Because the truth was, and we both knew it, he'd gone long, long ago. I'd just made him stick around when he really wanted to be somewhere else. In his own weird way, he was another victim of the shooting, One of the ones who couldn't get away.
"Are you mad?" he asked, which I thought was a really strange question.
"Yes," I said. And I was. It's just that I wasn't so sure I was mad at him. But I don't think he needed to hear that part. I don't think he wanted to hear that part. I think it was important to him to hear that I cared enough to be angry.
"Will you ever forgive me?" he asked.
"Will you ever forgive me?" I shot back, leveling my gaze directly into his eyes.
He stared into them for a few moments then got up silently and headed for the door. He didn't turn around when he reached it. Just grabbed the doorknob and held it.
"No," he said without facing me. "Maybe that makes me a bad parent, but I don't know if I can. No matter what the police found, you were involved in that shooting, Valerie. You wrote those names on that list. You wrote my name on that list. You had a good life here. You might not have pulled the trigger, but you helped cause the tragedy."
He opened the door."I'm sorry. I really am." He stepped out into the hallway. "I'll leave my new address and phone number with your mother," he said before walking slowly out of my sight.”


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