I don't understand...

His blue eyes look back at him from the mirror. He doesn't understand. It is never enough - whatever he does, it is impossible to atone, impossible to be anyone but an outlaw, a murderer, a bad man generally.

It is Christmas, and he is in alone in his room at the Cosmopolitan. It is not illness - the dry Arizona desert has sealed the bloody tubercles of his lungs as much as anything ever will. He has cleaned bows of salt cedar and hung them over the door, to provide a little festivity for himself.

It is Christmas, and the town is all at the new church. There is a Christmas tree, presents for everyone, cheer and holiday wishes, the women have brought pies and there will be dancing. Everyone will have their best clothes and the girls will dance on their father's feet, or with the little boys until they fall asleep against coats on the benches. The men will leave periodically to stamp their feet and share from their flasks. The women will cluck and arrange the food and laugh together in the corners. Wyatt is there, all the Earps, all the Committee for Public Safety, all the good people in town. John has been told he would not be welcome, but he can hear them on the December air if he opens his window.

He understands he is a foreigner. He understands he has a reputation, a less than savoury past. He expects now that his general courtesy and greetings will go unheeded at least as often as they are returned. But he has never lied. He has worked for them all, offered his hand - even to killing or dying for them. He has fought and stood and never been less than a gentleman to any of the townspeople. Without his name, without his past, he had been considered a fine man. What more can he do?

Nothing.

He doesn't understand. There must be something, some trait or error. There must be something he can do. There must be some way of atoning, of offering. It is never enough.

It is Christmas.

"I don't understand," His blue eyes say, looking back at him silently from the mirror. He has no answer, and there is no one to tell him. He drinks from his own flask. He goes downstairs and stands by the rail, listening again.

"I don't understand."

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 403
Please comment if you wish.

no one knows what it's like to be the bad man, to be the sad man. behind blue eyes.
.

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