If you have read this far you have (I hope) realized something. You have seen that multiple life-shaking things were happening to Jacob simultaneously – that Jacob was enduring a series of intense and difficult events, each piling quickly on top of the other. Of course, many people have endured much more than Jacob, and have endured it within the confines of a more immediately and perilously threatening context. Still, Jacob was under a genuine and even distressing pressure which was being pushed heavily upon him more and more as the hours passed. If you are tempted (as I am, I confess) to dismiss the gravity of the circumstances for Jacob, I only ask that you try to empathize with him; realizing that the possibility of far worse circumstances do not invalidate the difficulty of what Jacob was going through. It could have been much worse. But bad is bad, even when it is not worse than it is.
Up until this point, I have told you some of what Jacob experienced, that is, what happened to him. I have mentioned, in my moments of poetic waxing, how he felt about those things as they occurred. But I have not yet described, in any sort of meaningful way, how Jacob acted, or, more appropriately, reacted to the seeming unraveling of certain facets of his world’s fabric.
At this point, I have now poured the footing for this story, which is really only just now ready to be built into a recognizable shape. Because this story is much more about Jacob’s reaction than about his circumstances. Certainly, the circumstances and the reaction are intermingled in a way impossible to separate, so, of course, the circumstances are the story as well. They form the setting, but the story in substance is, I hope you realize, more about Jacob himself. This story is Jacob’s mettle, being proven and forged, because for him (as for all men) trying circumstances function like two sides of a coin. The both prove and forge and man’s character. Again, these cannot be extracted from each other, because they happen simultaneously in a dove-and-tail relationship.
What I what to talk about, mostly, is that proving and forging. I want to tell you about Jacob, whose circumstances are pushing him into a place where divine grace forms his only hope. It was his hope before his world was rattled violently. However, in the clarity of catastrophe, Jacob will be coming to understand such dependence in profoundly deeper ways.
I know that I am using an unconventional method here, in telling you what I am thinking as I tell you this story. Many (most?) narrators do not give their readers a roadmap to the story they are telling. Some might think that I am overplaying my hand, or giving you too much insight. It seems that many schools of thought assume that subtlety equates to artistry. Am I forfeiting artistry or an element of the craft of storytelling here? Some will say so. I, of course, disagree, or I would not be doing it. The story has not yet been told, and you have not yet read it. Besides, knowing “what happens” does not automatically ruin a story. And I have not told you “what happens” yet.
Here is what you know:
You know only, at this point, that the main point of the story is about Jacob.
Basically, I have only told you that the main character is the main character.
So, at any rate, let’s get on with it.
At the end of the last chapter, I told you that the paramedics and policemen found a gun tucked into Jimmy’s pants. Mark had already confessed to Jacob his financial infidelity, and so the gun didn’t surprise Jacob. He almost expected it, sensing, when he saw it, a vague confirmation rather than shock. It was a feeling of a resigned, “Of course”, as if a crazy homeless man’s homicidal plans fit better into the context of his day than status quo, same old life as usual would have.
The police filed an incident report, with Jacob describing his past interactions with Jimmy and the events with the rockers only minutes before.
“Yeah,” Jacob said to one of the officers, “He sort of threatened me. I didn’t really think he was seriously meaning to do anything. But, yeah, it was kind of weird. I’d never seem Jimmy get so jacked up before.”
The hullabaloo lasted another hour or so, and Jimmy was pronounced dead upon arriving to the ER. Jacob had called Anna, and told her about the gun. Obviously, it scared her, though Jimmy’s death provided both she and Jacob a sense of comfort. A dead man cannot kill, and, so, Jacob was safe from malicious bullets.
I didn’t mention before, but Jacob had called Chris, Griffin’s manager, at the outset of the fiasco, and he arrived sometime in the midst of it all.
“Go home, Jacob,” he kindly demanded.
Chris wore his hair long and pulled back neatly into a pony-tail, wearing black leather cowboy boots, jeans and plaid shirt tucked in. He had lived the musician’s life, and, now, was pretty much settled down.
Another time, Jacob might have argued, if only in that polite, expecting-to-be-declined sort of way.
But today he obeyed instructions, and was grateful to go home.
It was 2:30 when Jacob got in his car, closing the door and sitting, silent.
Because sometimes silence is worship, and the only option.