Sitting in the low light, waiting. Trying to be calm. Breathing steadily, slowly, deeply. Closing my eyes, picturing myself on a hill in the countryside, watching a sunset. Shifting the weight of the knife in my hand, getting used to it, comfortable with it. Opening my eyes again and looking around me at the room I am in.
This is the hardest part of the job. Sometimes it can be hours, even days. Once, memorably, a little over a week.
It’s not the boredom. It’s not fear, or fretting that I won’t be able to complete the job. I know what I can do. I’m confident. I’m good. And I enjoy it.
And that’s the hard part. The excitement.
Watching the flame in the lamp flicker, shadows on the rich mahogany bookcases shifting. Breathing slowly, steadily, deeply.
Trying to keep the excitement in check. Remaining calm, meditative. Zen.
Shifting the weight of the knife in my hand.
They say you should do what you love, and if you’re good at what you do, you should always get paid for it. I’m lucky, I’m good at what I love and get paid for it very well indeed.
And then I hear the front door click. I stand quickly, silently, and move to the wall by the door to the room. The knife is in my hand.
I hear footsteps approaching.
Standing in the low light, waiting.