He liked to refer to it, in later years, as The Trouble. It had a pleasing weight to it with capitals added, a dignity entirely at odds with the actual nature of the events. It sounded like the crucible through which a boy passed to manhood, or a vast national struggle, with a hero emerging from the tumult to lead his battered fellows to victory.
It sounded better that way– noble, inspirational. On the rare occasions when he removed the capitals, he knew that he wasn’t that hero. At best, he was the guy who wandered off in the second act, rattled some chains out of curiosity, and got eaten. In his most honest moments, he was the damn fool in the prelude whose thoughtless, selfish actions set it all in motion.
But those moments were rare. Self knowledge, never his gift, would do him no good now. She had never forgiven him, so there was no point in penance. That became part of the legend, the tragic ending of The Trouble that the hero was left to shoulder bravely as he staggered off into the distance. It was such a pretty picture that sometimes he even forgot that the burden was his.