I look up and he's in front of me. I raise my hand to wipe away the tears, but they remain on my cheeks, drying, betraying my emotion.
"You heard?" he asks me.
I nod. Everyone has heard. It's all over the news.
He sinks down on the couch next to me, leaning forward, his head buried in his hands. I move my hands up and rub across his back, slowly gently. I can feel the tension twisting his muscles into knots.
"You did everything you could," I say, trying to think of anything to take away his pain.
"Everything?" he asks, turning to look at me. "I didn't do a damn thing but leave."
"But you came back, you were there when he needed you," I answer.
"But it was too late. Too damned late to save him. Save him. God, why would he think that I could do that?" he exclaimed.
I had no answer.
"How could he?" he asked, turning to look at me, his eyes now filling with tears. "Did I really do this? Am I responsible?"
How could he think that? He had nothing to do with Gee's death. It was so typical of my husband to take these things on him. There was no way he could have prevented this tragedy. Now it was my job to try and make him understand.
"You're not responsible, Frank. No matter what you think, you need to take this off of yourself. Find some absolution. This is not your sin."
He stands up and walks over to the window.
"Absolution," he rolls around on his tongue. He laughs sharply. "No one can every truly have absolution. We should all know that."
I haven't seen him this bitter for a very long time, not even when he left the department. I knew this would be hard for him, but not to this level. I move over and put my arms around him.
"You couldn't stop that bullet, you couldn't know what was in the mind of that man. You're only human, Frank, as much as you might think otherwise."
We stand there for a very long time, silent. Finally he moves away from me.
"I have to go," he says. "I left before, but I'm going to be there now. He still needs me."
I don't understand, but I watch as he goes. His complexity is a blessing and a burden. The phone rings as he pulls out of the driveway. The voice asks if I will accept a call from the city lock-up. I accept.
"Mary," the broken voices calls. "It's Tim."
"He's on his way," I respond, suddenly understanding.