by dschapman

There is no room on earth for a good man – death is the only instance of goodness, and death is the one thing I refuse to entertain anymore. I am desperately unwilling to die, to engage in any way with death again. But such a resolution is little more than a calling card for the presence, the danger, of death. For when it really comes down to it, when the tides of the world shift and a meanness hovers in through the cold evening air, and a chaos erupts in the shell – then even the good men, even the virtuous men, are unable to help – the forces of darkness press in on us and tempt us, provoke us, smash our heads in the wall and tell us to defend ourselves. The agony of indecision clouds around us, dares us to act. He insults me, he disrespects my property, he challenges me to make him leave, to call the police on him… As good men, yea, we are helpless – and the helpless are the first to be crushed, but no man can stand to be crushed – he must make a choice, he must put an end to the tyranny of darkness. But once a good man has defended himself, he is no longer good… He is already lost. The mechanisms are mad and I fear them with all of my being.

So I hit him again and again in the face to subdue him, to stop his resistance. It must have hurt him something bad – he had many bruises. It must have been scary for him to get hit so. I had never hit a man in my life, and now I was hitting my closest friend and lover in the eye. Eventually he stopped struggling and we let go of him, and carried him away… It began when I took the glass from him, he tackled me for it, and as I struggled to keep it away from him it hit him in the chin and cut his lips. I dropped the glass in shock and tried to help him, to clear him up. Instead he hit me. I let him hit me, it hurt but I was okay. But afterwards he kept drinking, he kept slapping me around, he kept threatening to beat our asses, to kill us… He mentioned a gun…

He accused me that night of betraying him, he started to cry – I struggled to remain firm. He said that started it, that made the violence… How can you believe that, I asked. Do you really think that was my fault? I did what you made me do, I cried – I did what you made me do! It is Christmas, I screamed, what have you done to us on Christmas?

I struggle to find peace afterward, but there is nothing. I confide in a girl that I love but she does not really care. I realize she will never love me and I should give up that ghost already. I find strange consolation in the word of God, the presence of God, but even the Bible cannot help these things. Nothing made of earth or clay can help these things. There is only the passage of time and the crumbling of will to dissolve it, to scatter the pieces like particles of sand in the breeze; nothing remains, all is disseminated. I can not remember how it happened; I can only remember the fear, the pain, the frustration – the way that he pushed me, and pushed me, and hit me, and slapped me, and now, now after all of it, the way he is lying, the way he is holding on to his lies…

I feel more inadequate now than I have ever before. I want to nurse his wounds and bring him gifts. I want to amend things. But also I want him to leave me for good, because if he betrayed me once, like that, he would betray me freely forever. There is nothing a man like I can do against a demon, nor even another man. I am not a strong man, I have only my integrity and word. When demons refuse to listen, when demons attack – a man must survive, however he can. I asked him to sit down, I begged him to relax, to leave us alone, to step outside for a minute, anything… And then he attacked! Like an animal! And I struggled to contain him, but he was so much stronger than me… And now am I making excuses? Is this an excuse? Or is this the way the bad men fell from his furious madness, the way that I had to subdue him and be safe? All I wanted was safety; all I value in the world is safety and calm. It is true that I am not bold. I am not a warrior. I do not fight. I am relaxed and comfortable. I relish the easy life. I strive for constancy and ease. When I am confronted with a threat, when the calm of my life is compromised, what am I supposed to do? He kicked my dog, he punched me in the face… But he’s my brother!

He hit me once, he hit me twice… But he’s my friend!