I am a very good person, though I wasn't always. It's hard to be a good person, and it's pleasurable to be evil. I took the path of least resistance for the majority of my life. I took the path of least resistance until I met David.
"I have not given up on you," he said.
He did not. He took my right hand in his and held it by the wrist as my fingers and palm quivered like a starving autumn leaf. I was pale and I was cold and my lips were blue as blue as blue.
"No no no," I begged.
"Yes yes yes," he said.
David did not give up on me. He took a pair of metal wire cutters and opened their tetanus mouth. They welcomed my ring finger between their jaws like a crocodile welcoming a bird. He rocked them back and forth like he might slowly saw my finger off.
"You will say, I promise that I have done no hurt to man."
I said after him in a voice like a rattle. "I have done no hurt-"
"I don't believe you," he said, and he cut my finger off at the knuckle. My hand exploded with blood and I imagined that there was a hose of gore that was hidden inside my splintered bone. The inside of my finger was red and white. I tried to move it. It felt like it was still there.
David's hand was red. It sunk into the lines of his palm until they looked black. His hand was creased dark with all of my red like a drawing done in charcoal. "You will say, I promise that I have caused none to feel pain." He caressed my middle finger with the open jaw. The metal looked brown now.
"I PROMISE." It flung from my mouth. "I PROMISE." My hand writhed like a legless spider.
The bone cracked in half with a sound like a tree struck by lightning. I thought David was going to cup my blood in his big rough hand and drink from it, lick it, suck it with his mouth of horror. He was Moses in a desert of suffering. My bleeding hand was the river Nile.
He began to saw through my left arm at the elbow. "I'M GOOD," I screamed, "I PROMISE." I couldn't feel the hand with all the fingers. His face was red. He wore a mask of horror.
"You will be." He pulled the arm away. It moved like a headless snake. The sinew stretched and snapped. I screamed. The detached wrist rolled.
"No no no." I am pale and tired and blue as blue as blue.
"Yes yes yes." There was a roaring beside my face. "We all are." The torch bellowed. The flame was blue. "After pain." My face was cold.
I can admit that I no longer suffer. Kindness has emerged within the permanent blackness of my soul like a blooming nebula. Love is suffering recognized.
I love, and I am a very, very good person.