“Look who’s back for a second visit.” He says snarkily as I slowly trod down the stairs to the gloomy cell house. The stairs are mossy and wet from the recent rain, the smell of moisture fills the rock cavern, a couple flames dancing shadows around us, separate by the bars.
My mouth tightens, my teeth clench, and lips purse, attempting to show restraint. “I always knew you’d come around, even if you didn’t want to admit it,” he continues.
I walk towards him slowly. He smiles, contemplating his next move. I stop two feet away, sizing him up, but clearly thinking about something else.
“Which one of the bullets life fires at you hit this time?” He asks, still smiling. I still say nothing. His grin turns to a look of confusion as my demeanor does not match his expectations.
I reach out my hand, revealing a key.
“You told me you threw that away…”
I place the key in the lock and twist, the cell door opens. He doesn’t move, but just stares, not realizing his jaw has lowered. My face remains tightened, as an attempt to disguise the beating of my chest.
I step forward, embracing him. “I’m sorry.”
He says nothing.
“God didn’t tell me to leave you behind. He told me to follow Him. I chose to not take you with me.”
My muscles tense, expecting anger. I release from the hug, trying to calculate his next move. We look into each other’s eyes, unsure of what to do or say. He finally places his back on the wall, and slides down to the floor. There is no sarcastic remark, there is no anger, there is no prodding. He almost seems defeated.
I slide down the wall opposite to him at the same time. I hadn’t thought past this moment. It is in this very moment that I realize: we are scared because we are similar. We spent so much time building a wall around one another, that we never realized we were trying to pin down the very shadows that danced around us. We had become the scapegoat for each other, unable to reconcile the heart of the matter.
So we sit in silence; not the kind of silence that is plagued with anxiousness, but the silence of expectation, the expectation of a word or action that might offer the solution to the riddle of the silence. None comes.