Christopher David Petersen
Copyright 2012 Christopher David Petersen
“True atonement can neither be advertised nor celebrated. Its sin is a private nature to be considered between you and God only.”
Hannibal Missouri, 1895:
The large passenger train rumbled through the rural countryside, its heavy steel wheels creating a comforting and hypnotic sound as it negotiated each section of track with rhythmic repetition. Sitting alone on the stiff and musty bench seat, the old man clutched his leather-bound notebook and stared out the window. His thoughts drifted from tangent to tangent, but always retraced back to his single purpose. He was a tormented man, one who carried his secret shame deep within, hidden from a world that would never understand.
He closed his eyes briefly and remembered the moment. He could see his friend's smiling face as the afternoon sun bathed them in the warmth of a summer day. Standing at the edge of the cliff, his friend’s skinny eleven-year-old frame peered over the drop-off. In his mind, he watched his hand reach out and touch him.
Even after forty-nine years, the vision seemed clear and distinct: its sight, sound, and emotion still fresh as the day the memory was created.