My life is split into two realities. Before Code. And after him.
The first time I saw him, he walked into my father’s bank with the strut of a man who knows exactly what he wants. I saw in him a fearlessness that I desperately wanted, needed, craved as much as my next breath.
Because I was watching him, I knew immediately when he pulled out a gun, aimed it at the ceiling, and fired three shots.
And that is the way I mark my life—before that moment and after it. Before, when I tried to be agreeable, tried to be admired, tried to be pretty, tried to make sure everyone liked me. Tried to shake myself of shame. And after, when all of that fell away. When I just didn’t care anymore.
Before Code. And after him.
I didn’t know then what he would be to me. I didn’t know how he would transform the fabric of my existence. I didn’t know he would move me, reshape me, mold me into someone else, someone I wanted to be.
Afterwards, he would become my lover, my savior, my hope, and my strength.
But, before that, he was my hostage-taker.