We stand there, face-to-face, not meeting each other’s eyes. "You didn’t come see me in the hospital." He doesn’t answer, so finally I just say it. "Was it your bomb?"

"I don’t know. Neither does Beetee," he says. "Does it matter? You’ll always be thinking about it."

He waits for me to deny it; I want to deny it, but it’s true. Even now I can see the flash that ignites her, feel the heat of the flames. And I will never be able to separate that moment from Gale. My silence is my answer.

"That was the one thing I had going for me. Taking care of your family," he says. "Shoot straight, okay?" He touches my cheek and leaves. I want to call him back and tell him that I was wrong. That I’ll figure out a way to make peace with this. To remember the circumstances under which he created the bomb. Take into account my own inexcusable crimes. Dig up the truth about who dropped the parachutes. Prove it wasn’t the rebels. Forgive him. But since I can’t, I’ll just have to deal with the pain.

NOTES

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