“The hardest part of…”
The hardest part of anything was never what anyone said it was, because, Yaminah knew, the hardest part was whatever you were doing at the moment. One foot in front of the other; the marathon is no harder than a single step, but that single step can be the hardest thing you’ve done in your life.
Right now, the step over the threshold was her “hardest part.” She’d shucked pieces and parts of her job during the train ride, the bus ride, the subway ride, and the walk, but stepping over the threshold required her to remember that she was, indeed, Yaminah.
Right now, that was harder than it sounded. She ran her fingers over the beads in her pocket – she kept them in this jacket, in the locker at the bus station, so that she always had them before she got home. Not a rosary, but they served a similar cause.
This bead, carved like an hourglass, told her about the time she’d beat the world speed record in distance running and told no-one except her trainer. Yaminah could do that. Sophia couldn’t.
This bead, textured all over like sandpaper, told her of the time she’d scaled a limestone wall – not for a test, not for training, but because she could. Yaminah could do that. Sophia couldn’t.
Bead after bead, memory after memory, she pulled herself back. Yaminah was the girl who trained because it was fun. She was the girl who scaled mountains. She was the woman who made her first kill and spent the night retching, then went out and made her next kill.
The nights were Yaminah. The kills… those were Sophia, or Gloria, or Hannah. She had never killed aside from a mission. She had never climbed a mountain on a mission.
She ran her finger over the last bead, the one shaped like a cat, and let herself in to her apartment. The hardest part… Right now, the hardest part was remembering if she’d dumped the milk before she went on her mission.
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