He left the house at half past 6 in the morning. Today was the day. The day of his freedom. He knew it would come one day. 40 years he’d carried it on his back. Fear. He’d carried it like a hero his sidekick, never too far behind. All these 40 years he’d paid his price for that one day, that one choice that he made. 40 years of fear. 40 years of hiding. 40 years running. He’d paid his demons well. So had they, his family. They paid for his sins too. Out of the four children he had, only one knew, the eldest, and even she didn’t fully comprehend.
His wife knew. Of course, she knew. There was no way he could hide the fact from her. She knew he was a fugitive when she married him. But as they say, you can’t help who you fall in love with. Fate had chosen the two of them to bear his cross together. She knew, rest her soul, that the life they built could be over at any time. They could come like smoke in the night and take his life. He could be here today and gone tomorrow and she, alone in the world, would have to carry on without him.
On more than one occasion they’d fled into the dark recesses of gathering twilight with just the cloths on their backs. To new homes, new friends, new lives they went. But she was gone now. Nora. His Nora. His rock, his anchor, his partner in crime. Heart attack. It was probably one he’d given her. One that came from carrying this fear 40 years. That was when it had started. The yearning. The yearning for freedom, the yearning for rest, the respite of not having to wake up in the night over every sound he heard. No longer looking over your shoulder, even on the best and most precious of days. His relief. He started yearning its taste.
Yet, he’d waited, fully expecting to see himself have a change of heart, but that yearning had not left. Now. Now was the time he’d decided. All of the chicks had grown and flown his coop. They’d grown wings and took off. Six months ago his youngest son had married. He, himself, had just turned 60 two months before. That was when it happened. That’s when he realized he’d had enough. Like Israel wondering the desert for 40 years, his 40 years of desert wandering had been enough.
A week ago he’d filed his latest will and testament. Left a note for his children and mailed one to his eldest. He locked the house that crisp morning, the morning of October 31st and headed to the airport. He booked a plane to Canada, Toronto. In three hours time he’d be at the door of the Caraway family. They were a highly connected and dangerous mob family. Walking onto their doorstep would mean his life would be forfeited, yet he welcomed it. It would be sweet relief he was craving, a relief to know he was going to face his music, join the waltz of violence the Caraways always kept, and satisfy the debt against him.
It was a debt he’d gathered at 20 years old after having accidently informed an undercover police officer of the Caraways involvement in certain crimes. Though, it was a stupid and innocent mistake that only a carefree 20 years old would make. At the very least this whole situation had made him honest. He never again sought out the back alley transactions he was involved with before. Still, his was not a mistake the Caraways forgave. In fact, they were known not to forgive anyone at all. Ever.
In three hours and a half, he landed on Canadian soil. By now, no doubt they’d gotten news he was on this flight, but no fear came. He was beyond fear. He headed for customs. Soon enough he pushed through the crowd and made it outside. He breathed in the cold familiar scents of this city.
He hailed a cab from across the way but a black Lincoln with black windows pulled up in front of him at the curb. The elder Mr. Caraway rolled down the window.
“Jimmy boy, its been a while.” He said wrapped in a shrivel of mystery.
“It has but I’ve come to make it right. Better late than never.” He replied.
He nodded. “Lets talk Jimmy.” Caraway motioned for Jimmy to sit down with him and Jimmy obliged. The car pulled away from the curb and soon lost its significance among the Toronto traffic. However, one never knows how life will pan out, least of all those willing to die.