“I wanted to tell you a short story before I placed you in front of the wall and shot you. I wasn’t always such an angry young man. There were flowers and puppies in my past too, like everyone else. I blew on dandelions and dreamed of holding a girl’s hand.
“Life can be beautiful.
“I haven’t lost sight of that. I wouldn’t be here if I’d forgotten. But death can also be beautiful. That’s why we build countless monuments, big and small, in it’s honor. Even when we’re lying in the ground, we still aspire to soar up to the sky. Nobody gives a fuck about whether the pharaoh beat his wife thousands of years ago or treated his people with compassion or cruelty. No, they care about getting a selfie with the pyramids and ogling some lifeless wrapped up remains in a museum in case it springs to life.
“My father died when I was twelve. Or at least I think he died. They arrested him one day, and on the next day he was neither lying in the earth nor soaring in the sky. He was just inexplicably unjustifiably gone. They wouldn’t even speak his name.
“Sometimes I wonder where the girl from my dreams ended up. Is she designing dresses or mending them? Studying in Zurich or stuck in the same hole where we both grew up, now no longer a child but unable to ever quite reach adulthood? It’d be better if she stayed the young, beautiful, shy but still smiling girl with long dark brown hair and infinite freckles from my dreams. Maybe in another world she would have become my wife. Who can say?
“But I chose a different path. Cruel fate knocked me over and fashioned me into a speedy arrow, and now I must fly.
“Do you remember last year? It seemed like it was five straight months of endless protests and snow. Spring couldn’t have come any sooner, and when it did, it was like a flood. I’d never fired a gun before, but you changed all that.
“Maybe now you wish you weren’t such a coward. You wouldn’t be here in this situation now. And if I’m being honest, it could just as easily be me tied up and you with a gun in your hands. But it’s not. I thank God for that!
“I don’t want to die anymore than anybody else. But I’m a piece of shit. I drink too much, I smoke too much, I never shut my fucking mouth. Maybe I’d deserve it. Nevertheless there is the small fact that I’m right.
“You hesitated. I didn’t. You stepped on the tracks. Now the train to the future is bearing me forward shining its great light upon the patches of darkness. May injustice and barbarism be damned!”
It was an inconspicuous concrete wall, ugly and dull, now covered in splotches of red, and nobody could be sure whether the next rain would wash it off.