It’s funny that my life perspective changed when I hit thirty over the summer. Of course, a lot of what happened this past summer are things that most people my age haven’t experienced, thankfully. I guess I’ve learned how sacred friendships are, especially when tragedy rips those friends away from you. It’s been tough to move beyond everything that happened in Panama last June. Ari, Abdel, and Stephen had taken the place of my three bio-brothers who disowned me years before when Papa divorced Mama. Seeing them murdered by the team leader they’d trusted could have given me a hefty case of PTSD.
What? I fell silent there? I’m sorry. I was thinking about the events . Sorry about that.
In some respects, Alex saved me. I know God brought her back in my life at that point for a reason, probably for many reasons, and her comfort was one of them. Maybe it was her own near-death experience four years ago that brought her to that point, or things that happened during that four-year hiatus in our friendship. Regardless, she lent her support in many ways, be it by listening when I talked or by holding my hand and staying near when grief bound me to silence.
It’s good now to look to the future, to think about what that entails. Definitely our being Unit 28 contractors together. And friends. I know we both want more. We’ve begun seeing each other on a serious basis, and we both know where this is headed. To marriage. But who knows when? If I have anything to do with it, it’ll be sooner rather than later.
Then there’s the nasty little secret I discovered that rainy night in Panama. Hashim al-Hassan has it out for Alex. I know he does. But that’s not what worries me. When I confronted Alex’s mom regarding what else I knew, she shocked me by threatening me into silence. Now I’m caught. I love Alex. I love her family. Sometime in the near future, I’ll be part of that family. The problem is, the secret is eating me from the inside out. Most days, I’m able to suppress it, to act as if nothing happened, but those days when I hang out with Alex and her parents? I find myself gazing at her and wanting to blurt the truth. Then I look at Roya. To say our friendship has cooled is an understatement. Oh, she’s very good at hiding it, but those looks convey one thing. You’d best not share what you know.
I won’t. I only worry it’ll come out by other, less pleasant means.
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