The Gifts of a Guide
AUTHOR'S NOTES: A little Jim stream of consciousness.
No need to archive. Will be up on my site soon.
As a child, I never really questioned or truly thought about these senses of mine. Not until I was around thirteen and I discovered Bud's body. Then, the sheer horror of that day, and the angry words my father spoke, forced me to suppress those terrifying images, and with them, the senses I had come to think of as just a normal part of me. Because they weren't normal. "Freak," Dad had said. "They'll call you a freak. They'll take you away, Jimmy. Away from me and Stevie and Sally."
The fear of that overwhelmed even the shock of finding Bud and I pushed that part of me so deep, I didn't think I'd ever find it again.
I was so mired in grief and guilt when my men died in Peru that I never even questioned my senses resurfacing. Focused as I was on just surviving, I retreated in on myself, became mute and resolute, vowing that though I'd failed my team in this life, I'd return them to their families when I could.
When the Chopec found me, they treated me as a brother, and I became their protector in return for their kindness and for saving my sanity. I used my senses then for them, but they were simply a tool, honed to exceptional sharpness by the Shaman, Incacha, then put away as one would a hammer when its usefulness is done with, once I returned to the States.
On that fateful day when I first met Blair, the resurgence of my senses had me thinking I truly was going insane. Though I'd experienced all of this before, it suddenly seemed out of control, spiraling recklessly, shearing my nerves and composure. My father's words came back to me and all I wanted was to bury my senses so deep they'd never resurface. I didn't need them, didn't need the handicap they gave me, couldn't function with them. I'd become a liability to the people who worked with me.
I remember the look of surprise on Sandburg's face when I asked him how to turn them off. They were a gift, he told me. You're a walking crime lab, he'd said. I wasn't prepared to accept that but after he pushed me under that garbage truck, I felt I owed the kid a few minutes of my time. In the short space of an afternoon, Sandburg showed me just how much of an advantage my senses could be. For the first time I began to have hope that having this gift, being a sentinel really was an integral part of the man I am. And since that day, Blair, my partner, my best friend, my guide has put almost every second of every day into helping me. He has this uncanny knack of thinking outside the square every time my senses throw me for a loop. He says he's making it up as he goes along, but I get the feeling that perhaps his abilities to guide me are just as much a part of him as my senses are of me. If it were not the innate gifts of my guide, my friend, my own gifts would be once more, merely burdens.
Today, Blair made the ultimate sacrifice for me by denouncing his thesis and proclaiming himself a fraud in front of not only his peers and his mother but in front of the press and through them, the world. He did that despite me treating him these past few painful days like he was scum - a traitor, not worthy of being my friend, let alone my partner.
His words in that press conference shamed me, the sight of him standing up there, despair and grief etched clearly on his face, knowing that he grieved not only the loss of his career but also his friendship with me cut me to the quick. Now it's time, long past time to do for Blair what he's done so long for me. To stand up and prove to him that I care and I appreciate everything he's done in the past four years. To tell him I was wrong and he was not. To lose him now is what I justly deserve and something I couldn't live with.
He is the one who keeps me grounded and sane, who lets me see through him the wonder of these senses of mine, who is the balance to my surliness and distrust. He is the other half of my soul.