Bj, short for “Bjorn,” and I had already walked for a few miles in Oyster Point Industrial Park. Meanwhile, in the time used to walk that distance, he still had not managed to tell me what was really on his mind. Instead, we continued to merely make small talk. Because Bj was something of a new friend of mine whom I had just met from my new job at Gateway 2000 in the same city that I lived, which was Newport News in the Hampton Roads area of the Commonwealth of the state of Virginia, I did not want to grow impatient with him and risk offending him for making me walk for almost an entire hour with him for no reason at all. However, Bj was wasting my time.

Before long, we both were able to see in the distance one of the main traffic lights and accompanying traffic of Jefferson Avenue, which, in addition to J. Clyde Morris Boulevard, the other main road from which our walk began, was a main thoroughfare that spanned the entire length of the city from its southern extremity in the downtown area to its northerly, rural outskirts in the country. About half a mile or so away from this other main artery of our city, as we both continued to steadily close the diminishing distance between us and it, Bj finally unburdened his soul to me.

“I guess you’re wondering why I asked you to walk with me?” began Bj, with his head held somewhat lower than normal and his eyes looking forward as if to avoid my own understandably inquisitive gaze.

“Yeah, you can say that. So, what is it that you must tell me that’s so bad that you can’t tell me what it is at my apartment?” I finally demanded of him, more curious now than ever about what the still yet unspoken revelation could be.

“Okay. Well, I don’t know how else to say this to you. So, I’ll just give it to you straight…I’m a convicted sex offender,” Bj at last admitted, while simultaneously working up the courage to look me straight in the face and eyes during his confession to me. Moreover, his face looked worried, as if internally he was pained by self-doubt at the prospect of me immediately rejecting him in anger and disgust for being a rapist or even a pedophile who had the nerve and gall to work his way into my life, my home, and my goodwill without my suspecting something as potentially distasteful and off-putting as his serious crime and felony against the law.

“So, what are we talking about here? What do you mean that you’re a convicted sex offender? Did you rape somebody or what? Or is it worse than that?” I fired off one direct question after another, after pausing for a few seconds first and pondering what this all could mean about me as a person and as a human being if someone like a convicted criminal—a sex offender of all things, no less!?—could so casually snake and enter his way into my life the way Bj has done and potentially contaminate me with his perverse history and record. Even then in my surprise and beginning sense of indignation and hurt pride—as well as ego—over this novel development for me I had still bothered to form my interrogations of Bj carefully and with the utmost restraint and self-discipline to avoid betraying any indication of hasty judgment or condign condemnation of him.

“I sexually molested my four-year-old adopted daughter…,” answered Bj.

“Okay. So that makes you a pedophile then…a child molester. Is this what you needed to get off your chest with me?” I disappointingly discharged.

“Yes,” Bj said, now thoroughly ashamed of himself. Or, at least, that was what I at the time erroneously believed.

“I see. So why are you telling me this now? Or even at all? You could have just as easily kept this from me and I probably would never have found out your history, you know?” I inquiringly exclaimed.

“Pat told me to tell you about my past…to make sure first that you’ll be okay with having me as a friend even in spite of it,” Bj confessed.

Pat was his wife, whom I have already met. In fact, she was really his second wife. Bj later revealed to me that he had divorced his first wife due to infidelity arising from her bitterness and then ultimately differences between them stemming from his using their adopted daughter as his surrogate (for a sex partner) while as a couple they were simultaneously experiencing marital and conjugal difficulties. Unlike his first wife, Pat, however, could easily forgive and tolerate his history of pedophilia and sexual molestation of a minor to obtain the sexual gratification and fulfillment that he was not at the time receiving from his first wife.

But back in the present and in real-time, I found myself in a delicate situation because of Bj. He was expecting one of two possible outcomes from me.

“First, what I want to know from you now is would you have told me on your own if Pat hadn’t put you up to this?” I rejoined. “Please be honest with me, Bj,” I then requested.

“No…probably not. I don’t think I would if it weren’t for her,” Bj said, mildly despairing in defeat.

“And why not?” I pointedly asked him, giving him the chance to hopefully tell me what the obvious reason was to him as well as to myself.

“Because I know that if our positions were reversed, I would not forgive you for it and then accept and welcome you as a new friend—as I'm doing with you here now…,” Bj added at the end of his statement which included the otherwise inescapable repercussion of his transgression against his former adopted daughter, society, and God. By finessing Bj to state to us both his own clear recommendation to what he was asking of me as someone who was merely a new co-worker with whom little more than a very friendly acquaintance had been developed, he suddenly became noticeably crestfallen and beside himself.

“Even you, Bj,” I triumphed at him, but more encouraged now by his honesty nonetheless, “would not do for you what you are requesting of me. Do you see and understand that? So, how can you therefore stand there in front of me like that and ask me with a straight face to do the impossible for you when you would not even do it for me if I were you, the convicted pedophile, and you were me, the unsuspecting and new co-worker whom you managed to strike up a conversation with at the factory and office less than two weeks ago?”

“I’m not surprised by your answer then,” Bj replied in dismay to me. “I understand. Well, it’s been nice knowing you, Sven…I’ll let you walk alone back to your apartment…‘cause I suppose you don’t want me near you anymore?"

By now, Bj was beginning to almost look miserable and inconsolable, as if my latest words to him were a resounding rejection to his hopes of winning me as his new “faithful Achates,” a bosom friend and companion, to call his own. Perceiving his palpable sense of gloom and downfall, and being—to my utter misfortune for most of my life—a bleeding heart and a soft touch for those who don’t deserve my sympathy or my kindness or generosity, those whom I to my near ruin and destruction have unwisely chosen to show mercy and quarter and give absolution to without even a thought for myself and at the same time disregarded my own better judgment and instincts to help, succor, and aid, I went out of my way to improve his suddenly chap-fallen turn of mood by giving him hope.

“Bj, did you clearly and in no uncertain terms hear me say ‘no’ and positively reject your desire to befriend me because of your less than perfect past? No, of course not!” I smiled, hoping to be able to uplift his mood because I believed in second chances and the power of forgiveness to redeem the offender.

Whether we liked to admit it to ourselves or not, all of us in our own personal and individual ways are like Bj, the pedophile and convict who stood before me (and required grace instead of judgment and condemnation). None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes, and many if not all of us at one time or another commit acts and deeds of commission and omission—as well as harbor impure motives and intentions and thoughts—which are all undeniably outside of the laws of man and of God, as well. From the Pope himself to practically all our so-called respectable politicians and elected officials and leaders in addition to every walk of life in the spectrum between the two poles of power and authority and privilege, we all break the law. Consequently, all of humankind are lawbreakers by definition. Therefore, we are all offenders of the law; and thus, in this manner, we are all also criminals and convicts in the eyes of the law and justice who are only fit to be punished to pay the penalty of our crimes and transgressions.

But forgiveness acted as a substitute that can pay the penalty—or the debt—of our crimes for us. Forgiveness is meant as absolution (of our transgressions and disobedience against the law): and it derived from grace. So, once again, I felt torn between my principles and my compassion, but ultimately chose to show Bj grace even though I still stood the possibility of taking a very unwise risk with him. Nevertheless, and no matter what the ultimate outcome may be years or decades from now, I would have a clear conscience in knowing that I was faithful in following my principles—even at the risk of causing my own hurt or inconvenience in the end.

“Since it’s Friday, Bj,” I continued, picking up from where I left off, “give me a few days to think about whether I can be comfortable with us being friends or not despite your history. So, why don’t you call me this Sunday…and I’ll have a definite answer for you one way or the other, okay? How does that sound to you? Can you live with that?”

“Yes! That sounds good to me,” Bj beamed. “Thank you for not sending me away or rejecting me,” he added, betraying his inability to control his suddenly effervescent affect.

“Wait a minute, Bj,” I ordered, “I did not send you away on your ear—true! But I did not give you a response in the affirmative yet, either. Please don’t presume my answer until Sunday arrives, or I’ll be forced to use that as a reason to reject your desire for us to be friends?”

“Sorry. You’re right, Sven—forgive me for that.” Bj straightened up, avoiding this time to recklessly show any overt or too-obvious, premature glee or presumption at the prospect of successfully convincing me to overlook and pass over his pedophilia and his convict status as a sex offender.

“It’s okay,” I returned. “You want to turn around now and head back with me to my apartment…since there’s not much sidewalk or pavement left until we run into Jefferson Avenue’s busy traffic? Besides, I can use some hydration about now, too,” I realized.

“Yeah, I’ve had enough walking for one day, too,” Bj assented. “Let’s go back in the other direction now.”

Short story by Ngoc Nguyen The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 93 times
Written on 2024-05-05 at 11:15

Tags Grace  Pederasty  Pedophilia 

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