“I should have done more. I will do more, even though it is too late. I take the blame for what happened. I should have known.”
Monica stood in stunned silence, looking down at Mazula as he knelt before her, emotional and regretful. She’d never seen Dwayne’s ex-partner express any emotion but anger. Or take responsibility for his actions. Or express regret. Or cry.
Or refer to himself in the first person.
And yet, here he was, apologizing to her for something he wasn’t even responsible for. Something he couldn’t have prevented. Acting like a real person instead of a caricature from some bad cop movie.
The irony struck her hard. Years of being angry with Dwayne about his friendship with this man. Telling him that Mazula was going to get him killed. And only months after Maz leaves the force, here she was, burying her husband with his ex-partner actually regretful for a loss he couldn’t have prevented.
Maybe that was the real issue. They’d been partners for years. Maybe Maz felt responsible for Dwayne’s death he wasn’t there, because he couldn’t look out for his friend.
Monica looked down at the ex-cop, seeing him in a new light. Carlito had told her about Maz’s part in getting her and the kids away from the mob hit team that had come to the apartment. Without his help, who knows what might have happened to them. He’d been there for them when they’d needed him, the way he’d been there for Dwayne over the years.
Maybe it had been Dwayne that was right all along. They’d fought about this friendship so many times, they hadn’t even needed to speak in full sentences anymore. Maybe she was the one who was wrong about Mazula. Maybe he was the good friend that Dwayne saw.
Tears began to roll down her cheeks as she thought about the fights, the screaming, the anger. She’d been wrong. She’d been the one who hadn’t accepted Dwayne’s friendship. Tried to change him, pull him away.
She wanted to say something to Mazula. To express the regret that was overwhelming her. But the only thing she could manage was a choked, “It’s ok, Maz.”
Unable to bear more, she turned and fled to the relative safety of Dwayne’s wake, leaving Mazula and Carlito staring after her as the rain started falling heavily.