84. KindnessIt was a kindness, what I did.

They hate me for it, these townspeople, but I stand by what I’ve done. Before, faced with my “crime,” I’d have agreed with those wanting to hang me, but now, with the way things are, my “crime” isn’t what keeps me up at night.

The storm had been unearthly.

The food ran out first. There are ways around that; your palate gets less picky as your stomach gets more demanding. Water wasn’t a problem, as long as there was enough fuel for a fire. The blizzard gave us water to last a lifetime.

The sickness forced my hand. The girls caught it first — the lungs of the youngest are always the most vulnerable — then my boy, and then my wife. Why I didn’t get it, I don’t know. Hand to God, I tried to get it. I didn’t want to be left alone, and I certainly didn’t want to do what I eventually had to. The sickness showed me no kindness.

My wife and I laid there in the dark, one of us always up to make sure the fire didn’t die, and listened to them breathe, each breath more painful. We’d never seen anything like this sickness. Simply breathing became agony.

Comes a time when you know things aren’t going to get better, that there’s no coming back. So, I did the kind thing.

I’ll stand before God Himself and answer for what I’ve done. I’ll have some questions of my own.