i remember when i was little first learning the story of cain and abel, without the context of popular theological interpretation or the goal of sussing a simple moral to the story. i read the phrase “am i my brother’s keeper” and thought that cain was ashamed but would not let anyone know he was ashamed, that he couched it in defensive, indifferent irritation. the tone of cain’s voice in my little kid brain was like, in the very heart of the words he believed that yes, he was his brother’s keeper, and he couldn’t ever think about how deeply he’d failed. that if that was the first murder, the first unnatural death, then it was also the first instance of probably the deepest form of remorse a person can experience
i felt so badly for cain.