Hard Love

(With apologies to Leonard Cohen)

As the man said, “I don’t have to be forgiven for loving you so much.” I need forgiveness for “not calling you soft enough.” There ain’t no cure for you babe, there just ain’t no cure.

I say our love is soft because we make no demands on one another; our lovemaking is soft and gentle. You are soft and gentle, and you have given me your soft and gentle love.

I am sorry I let you down the other night; I was not right in my head. I had a problem that does not concern you. I know that you would say that everything about me concerns you, but not this babe.”

That is as far as I got on the phone before we were cut off. That was two days ago. Since then I’ve been on the dodge; there are men who are looking for me and want to kill me.

It’s a long story, but I am slated to die. The only thing that matters is that I get to Julie without putting her in danger. I have to fade away, and I need her to go with me.

You see, I was doing work for these men and something went wrong. What went wrong is not the point. Just know they want me dead. However, my saving grace is that they do not know about Julie, yet.

I’m on my way to Julie and I will be with her. We will live our lives together or I will be killed trying to reach her. They know my car, and men have been sent out to find me.

Julie lives off of Pico near the Sunset Strip. I drive by her apartment and see her car, she is home.

I park a block away and before getting out of my car, I slide the 9mm into my back pocket. Just as a precaution. My plan is to tell her to pack for an overnight trip. I’ll buy her whatever she needs or wants once we get to where we are going, if we get to where we are going.

I scan the neighborhood as I approach her building, all is clear.

She is happy to see me and I con her into thinking I am going to take her to the mountains for a two-day romantic holiday.

She has packed a bag that I am carrying and we are on the street when all hell breaks loose. The first bullet whizzes by my ear, the second hits me in the shoulder and spins me halfway around.

The first thing I do is push Julie to the ground, and then I pull my 9mm. There are three of them. The first is an easy target. He is only yards away; a bullet to his right eye takes care of him. The second is half hidden behind a Mercedes, it takes two shots, but then he is splayed on the street, his lifeblood flowing into the gutter.

The third assassin is running for his life; we are safe for now. But he fired at me when Julie was with me, and for that he must die. There are no pedestrians. I take my stance and take my time. When he is sighted, I squeeze the trigger. I do not wait for him to fall, I know he is dead.

I reach down and extend my hand to Julie lying on the payment. When she is on her feet, I wipe the tears from her eyes and tell her that we have the rest our lives to discuss what just happened, but right then we had to hightail it before the cops showed up. That is why I love her. She didn’t ask any damn fool questions. Instead, she smiled at me, touched the blood seeping through my jacket and said, “Let’s go.”

That was three years ago. We are now living somewhere I do not care to mention. Our first child is on the way (Julie is so radiant). I found a job as a mechanic at a local repair shop and for the first time since I was a kid, I do not have to sleep with a gun under my pillow. We are very happy. Our love is no longer soft. It is hard as granite, as hard as the earth upon which we stand.

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