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One of the movies playin' more frequently is of Junebug when she was little. Red curls a mess on top of her head. She hadn't been talkin' for very long, so all she could say for me was Grampy. It was cute when she was three, but when she got older it was annoyin'. A man like me needs a stronger name than Grampy. Now that she's in college, it's just plain ridiculous.
I've never told her I hated her name for me. I think it's because part of me likes it, too.
I made it to Ruth's apartment buildin'. It sits there, untouched from when I last saw it. Brick exterior stretchin' up into the blue sky. I'm tryin' to get up the courage to knock on door 306. At this rate, It'll arrive sometime next week.
I wonder if Ruth every got married. If she ever got that family she so desperately wanted. The organization we were a part of made that impossible. I understood why she wanted out. As soon as she told me her decision, I knew the reason. And I couldn't blame her. But I wasn't ready to get out then. Not yet. I thought she was bein' selfish, and I'd be lyin' to myself if I didn't say that a part of me resented her for a long while.
Our organization's motto is "live deliberately". I ran across a poem by Henry David Thoreau—smart guy, by the way—about goin' into the woods to figure our if you're livin' deliberately and all that. I was livin' deliberately—deliberately shootin' and killin' and stealin'. What else was there? But as the years stretched, and I was watchin' my new family grow and their families grow, I realized that I was livin' deliberately for them, not for me. And what's the point of livin' if it wasn't for myself?
I got to thinkin' on other things, too. Things like, if I stayed, Jack and Junebug would be folded into the organization as well. They'd have no choice. Especially Junebug. They'd want her for sure. Jack would survive, he would probably thrive. But my sweet little Junebug would be destroyed. That's what made me finally get out of the business. That's why they're lookin' for me now. That's why I need help if I want to disappear.
I stretch my arms wide and take a deep breath. Time to go up and face the music. Time to apologize and get my heart back. I just hope she still has it.