8/27 The Book of August

The first call of the day was my ex saying that the rescue squad was searching and they were expecting dogs to arrive later that could track blood in water.  The waiting was such a cruel agony.  I  filled the hours with all kinds of fantasies that she was alive–maybe with an injury and floating downstream holding onto a log.  Or she had been able to swim ashore and was unconscious.  Or maybe she was pranking us and we’d  all be so terribly mad at her.

My parents wanted me to make the drive home to them, but I refused to budge from the phone.  This was pre-cell phone days.  I sat and watched Debbie’s  Monarch chrysalis as it hung from a branch in her butterfly cage.  It was perfectly still and so beautifully bejeweled.

Each time I talked to my ex or his friend Mark, I got an evolving story about what happened.  I know that under duress confusion is common, but something just didn’t add up.  I didn’t want to question Mary over the phone about what had happened.  What was most disturbing was that Mark blamed Mary for the whole accident.  She was 12.  She was sober.  Everyone else was intoxicated.  Under questioning by the state troopers he retracted his initial statement blaming her and coughed up the truth.  But the damage had already been done.

My dad asked me more than once if they were dragging the lake.  Every time he said that I thought I’d puke.  I didn’t need to also imagine grappling hooks.  Dad drove to the lake to find out what was going on.  He meant well, but I knew his rough character.  Though he had always liked Lou, dad had no tact, so when I couldn’t talk him out of making the trip, I called Mark and told him that when he showed up at the motel where they were staying it would be best if dad didn’t have access to Lou or Mary.   Dad wanted to take Mary back home, but I didn’t want her interrogated by him.  Though I was terribly angry that this was an accident that could have been avoided,  I felt it was best that Mary stay with her dad for the time being.  Families relationships are so complicated.

Late in the afternoon they found her body.  Darkness enveloped my lonely apartment as I packed my bags.  It was a certainty in my mind at that point that I could never be happy again.  My life was ruined.

One Response to “8/27 The Book of August”

  1. The cruelty of them to blame a 12 year old little girl for this tragedy is beyond comprehension.


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