Being written out for work is great.
Tracy's never had a job long enough to earn vacation pay, so a note faxed from the hospital to the bank’s HR department instructing them that she must stay home for a week is a welcome relief. There was a brief call to her incredulous supervisor, that made
break out in cold
sweat. But, she is free to “recover” from the ordeal. Tracy
Along with a follow-up appointment with Dr. Dougie, she has a prescription for Xanax. The doctor seems to think she might have some anxiety over the ordeal.
The pills don’t make her feel loopy at all. In fact, she feels calm and normal for the first time in her life.
Perhaps she will call the bank tomorrow and speak to Kimberly. She knows she doesn’t have the woman’s phone number. She has few numbers stored in her phone.
The day slides by as
putters around the house. Peanut is
ecstatic to see her. The small dog is the most affection Tracy has ever known, and every time she sits
down the puppy is digging and burrowing in her lap. Tracy
She has time to clean each aquarium, cage, and terrarium thoroughly, with Peanut watching carefully. She doesn’t care for the other interlopers.
smiles at her turtles as she pulls each out, wiping down their containers and
gently wiping their shells and belly. They draw into their shells as she places
them back in their environment, but seem content. Tracy knows they will each appreciate having
a cleaner home. Tracy
There is no need to talk to turtles, or snakes. The fish and birds appreciate some soothing words though, and
tells them and
Peanut what happened, the words of her ordeal sometimes startling her with
their memory. Tracy
It's also a great time to move things around and get organized. The terrarium room started haphazardly, each new addition squeezed into whatever place seemed logical at the time. She makes a special trip to the store to get moving pads, and as each animal is moved and their home emptied out she slides the pads under the stands and moves them around.
When she is done there is a nice asymmetrical balance to the room, and all of the aquariums are lined up neatly around the walls with a hanging bird cage in one corner, and the sugar glider's cage propped up off the floor onto an old chest of drawers.
There's even room for a small, round lounge chair which she moves from her tiny living room.
Perhaps the changes will even convince Louise to accept the animals. Her mother is in
on a trip through the British Isles. had called her from
the hospital before being discharged. Tracy
She told her mother as much of the ordeal as she could process, and asked her to come home.
“Mom, I think I need you.”
wasn't actually injured, she saw no
need to rush home. Tracy
She fixes a cup of tea. Tea seems more appropriate now than coffee. Coffee seems so harsh and pedestrian... tea seems better suited for a person who has spiritually survived from one life to the next. She thinks again about the incident with Dikko and her borrowed life, and feels positive about the future for the first time that she can remember.
switches to wine, merlot, which feels
very sophisticated, and turns on the dusty television for the first time in
People on reality shows, newscasters, commercials, and sitcoms usually annoy
She doesn’t like a lot of sound, but tonight is different. She cares who has
the best Pasodoble, and the upbeat music and enthusiastic judges are
entertaining and funny. Tracy
As the dancers leave, the bachelors arrive.
The way these singles interact with each other is fascinating. How can all these men be in love with one woman?
Live each day like it could be your last. It is impossible to know which life you are on.
She grabs a legal pad and starts writing. Some of the words and phrases don’t make sense; The sky is a borrowed gift. But some phrases bring other memories bubbling to the surface.
Parts of their interaction are becoming clearer.
Appreciate your inner self. She knows more than your mind does. She understands what your mind cannot see. What your mind will not see.
The television switches between shows, dancers, commercials, and the news. By the time infomercials are droning on
has virtually tuned
them out, and the pad is filling up. The ideas are strong, and she doesn’t
sleep all night, barely closing her eyes by dawn. Tracy
But she feels awake for the very first time. She feels aware finally.
The doorbell rings. The sound startles
. She’s in front of
her television with a Yoga For Beginners program that happened to be airing on
PBS just when she felt like she needed some stretching. She doesn’t have a mat,
but a bath towel laid out on the floor where the coffee table usually sits works
just fine. Tracy
With an air of perception, she knows immediately that the bell is bad news, and considers ignoring the door.
Fixing a smile to her face, she mulls over some of her notes from the previous night. Walk by sight, for you can believe anything that you see, even if it’s something you see in your dreams, or your imagination, or with your heart.
With a breath she turns off the television, and opens the door.
"Hello ma'am. I'm detective Chris Pierce, may I come in?" The detective is dressed inappropriately casually as far as
is concerned. With plaid pants and a polo shirt, with the collar obnoxiously
popped up, he looks more prepared to knock around a golf ball than to interact
professionally with a citizen. There is a badge, casually flipped out in his
hand though. Tracy
He snaps it up as she pulls the door back to her hip.
"Why do you need to come in?" she asks. Fixing a bored expression on her face isn’t difficult or unusual. She slouches, and allows her old, deflated and uncaring self to present. But she knows better than to talk to this man.
“Whatever you say to a badge is a confession,” the old man would say, with more detail and conviction depending on how many glasses of whiskey he had sipped his way through in the evening.
When she was in middle school she had to interview the most fascinating person she knew and chose her grandfather, Ephriam George. She insisted he wear his dull gold star on his lapel while they talked, and the story he told was of James Henderson.
James was thought to be either a witness or a participant in a murder. They only had suspicion, no evidence. But during interrogation James filled in every blank, and created more questions which he then filled in with details. He was a fountain of confession, and Ephriam never had to say a word.
James spent decades in prison before another man was convicted with DNA evidence. It was harder than moving
Stone Mountain to get James released, but it was one of
her grandfather’s last acts in his life to do so.
Talking can bring the innocent down too. And a badge doesn’t always care who takes the fall for a crime, as long as it’s solved.
So, looking at the casual detective standing on her front porch, outside of her locked screen door,
has no illusions that she is
responsible for talking to the man. Tracy
He smiles in a comforting creepy manner, "Surely you want to give your statement, tell us what happened in the bank. Possibly clear your own name."
His smile dims and his lip curls up to his nose. "You have to talk to me. As a witness to a crime, a major crime, you are obligated to tell me what you know."
The smile is gone. His lip now fully meets a flared nostril, and as he huffs he brings his hand up to the frame around the screen door, hitting it hard.
jumps slightly. Tracy
"Not talking to me makes you look even more guilty."
"I would love to talk to you. But, at your office perhaps, where we can record the conversation, and I can have an attorney present. If you leave a card I can call and set up a time."
She smiles again, and her face almost cracks. She hasn't tried to be friendly to anyone in such a long time she imagines her face must look massive and uncomfortable from the effort.
Officer Friendly finally relents and sticks his card in the door. He stomps off the front porch and into his car, revving the engine, and spewing gravel from her driveway as he makes a point with his petulant exit.
With him finally gone she takes a moment to look at his card, her face falls, and she's actually worried now.
For the last couple of days she's spent so much time and effort thinking about Dikko Suzuki and his message, that she hasn't even thought about the robbery, or the person who actually did die that day. Everything happened so fast, before she really understood what was going on that she only remembers fits and starts.
Where exactly was everyone?
Her ignorance might look like she's hiding something. She needs to call Kimberly, maybe even stoic Angie. But she needs to call someone and find out what they saw, and make sure her story aligns perfectly.
Yoga forgotten she searches through her notes, looking for some concrete memory that she can build a story around.
What exactly did happen in the bank that day?