Monday, September 17, 2018

Death, as Public Domain

A white dude put a bag over her head. A white dude dumped her like so much trash on the side of a back road where we wouldn’t find her for two and a half years. Her father had to ID her teeth. Her teeth. They found her pelvis in a creek bed where it had washed down from seasons of melt and deluge. We searched. Shoulder to shoulder. Heel to toe. I still don’t see a field for a peaceful place for a picnic. I see divots and slight mounds and wonder if those are shallow graves, like the ones I’d jab with a stick to see if it smelled like corpse in the blistering August heat. That shit changes how you look at everything. And the inescapable mob of opinions and accusations. The heavily cliched angry townsfolk gathered on smart phones, thumbs perched over “send”. Armed with righteous indignation and a tv education based on bad crime series, they took pictures. Publicly speculated. Tried to befriend us so they could dig fists into our guts, our lives. Used that tv knowledge to build a world that fit their narrative. They harassed the mourning. Her name. Their cause. They tried to steal her identity away from her after she was gone. They dissected her fb page, analyzed each word for what it wasn’t. Nothing mattered to them but their insatiable hunger. No matter what we said, no matter who we were and had been for all of our lives...a flawed, but loving family, and she was part of us. Sharing merriment, food, drink and love. Always love. She was the Adored One. It went national. Everyone had an opinion. We met people no one should ever have to. There was no privacy, though I could hide. Stay as quiet as I could, become a nonissue and provide a place to hide a while, where others in my family had no choice but to face the blinding camera lights. I learned a new kind of disgust when our lives intersected with Nancy Grace—May she never know peace. It’s been seven years. I know this because I found out while I was searching that I was pregnant with my youngest. All I really have left of her are some private memories and some texts. I’m a better person for having her in my life, for the six short years she was here where we could hug.

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