George Pelecanos – The cut

He would not ask forgiveness for the taking of another man’s life. Just like those who had shot him in Iraq, the man in the parking lot had intended to kill him. In fact, when Lucas prayed he never asked for anything. He had not even begged for a miracle while his father was dying of the brain cancer that had quickly claimed him. Instead, he silently said the same prayer he had always said in church, in the privacy of his home, and in the Middle East: Thank you, God, for the gift of life you have given me, and the gift of life you have given to my family and friends.

Lucas did not have the absolute faith his mother and his brother Leo possessed. He had seen too many bodies zipped into rubber bags, seen so much random death that he was no longer certain of an afterlife. But he did feel that the life he had, here on earth, was no molecular accident. It had been granted to him, and it was a blessing. He came to church to give testimony to that, to express his gratitude, and to be a part of this community that had meant a great deal to him throughout his life. He saw his people here. In the fathers of others he saw his own father in the church.

“…For there is no man who lives and sins not”, said the priest. 

And Lucas thought, Amen.

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