the pearl

A Brief Conversation About Forgiveness

The last time Roque saw Jolene, she was glowing, grinning, laughing as they raised their beers and cheered the announcement of the Porteous baby.

That was over five years ago, and while Pooch takes a small boy inside, laughing at his chatter, Jolene crosses her arms and studies him, frowning.

"You betrayed them," she says, her voice clipped. "You sold them out."

Roque meets her gaze with his good eye. "I did," he says, reserved, calm. No excuses, no anger, just the cold hard truth between them.

"And now you're back."

"I am."

Her crossed arms tighten around her middle. "They shot him in his legs, you know," she says tightly.

"I know."

"Still hurts him some mornings." When he doesn't respond, her eyes narrow. "They wouldn't be hurting if it wasn't for you."

Roque nods. "I know."

"And now you're back."

"I am."

She closes her eyes and breathes deeply, holding her arms tightly around herself.

"We got him," he says, still calm.

Her eyes open. "Max is dead?"

"He is."

She closes her eyes again and sighs. "Is it over?" she asks him, eyes still closed.

He pauses, then nods. "It is."

She opens her eyes, takes a long breath, and then looks at him. "You might as well come in, then," she says. "But if anything ever happens to my husband again, anything that you could be responsible for, I'll find you. You got that?"

Roque nods and smiles.

This The Losers story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at