Ransom’s search came to an abrupt end. The Detective informed Ransom that I had left in such a foul mood and so quickly, he worried what I might do. He was right to worry.
A call from a friend at the local Emergency Room led Ransom to a wounded but otherwise undaunted Private Investigator with a chip on her shoulder.
In my rage-fueled state, I skated into a moving UPS truck.
“WHAT NOW?!” I hollered at the Sherriff.
“Does that JERK want my head on a platter? Well. . He can just get in line, buddy. I only have the one.”
Pain meds. Fun.
Ransom gave the nurse a look that meant “I’ll handle it.”
“She’s dying and it’s NOT my fault.” Was all I could muster.
Of course he had no idea what I was on about. It didn’t sound like anything to do with Fish or Jessica Thompson.
“Ok. Let’s take a walk.” He tried.
I took his outstretched hand and without warning I collapsed in a sobbing heap into his arms.
I don’t remember the drive to my Motel.
After fumbling with keys and lights, Ransom managed to get me into my room. I made a B-Line for the bathroom where I heaved a good portion of what was left of lunch.
Pain meds. Fun.
Embarrassed and still dazed enough to have trouble walking or even standing, I managed to take a glass of water from Ransom.
“Thanks. I’m Sorry.”
“It’s all right.” Ransom lied.
“No. No, it’s not all right. I have been a sloppy nincompoop and not very much value to you. Or anyone.”
“Just get some rest and we can talk about it over a hearty breakfast.”
He dropped my pair of beaten up in-line skates by the front door.
“Did you actually pack these or are they rented?”
“I packed them.”
“Wow. You are dedicated.” He was actually a little impressed but also confused.
“No. Not dedicated, more like deranged.”
“What does that mean?”
“I have nightmares. Sometimes they are bad enough I have to skate.” I looked at the empty glass of water.
“Why not just run? It would save baggage space.”
“It doesn’t work for me. I HAVE to skate. It’s an old habit.”
I didn’t want to, but Ransom deserved an explanation. I poured my soul out.
“I was in the 6th Grade. A boy, Paul, asked me to go with him to the skating rink. I was overjoyed at the prospect. I was also young and naive. He was an 8th grader that I had a HUGE crush on. I prepared myself all week and didn’t tell my parents that it was a date. They would have forbidden it. Not only because I was so young but because he wasn’t Korean. Of course that wasn’t going to stop me.”
Ransom sat on the floor.
“My Dad dropped me off and left. My sister was there too, so it wasn’t like I was unsupervised or anything. Paul was there. I thought he was waiting for me. Instead he took one look at me, all dressed to the nines, and he laughed. His friends laughed with him.”
I paused to clear my throat and suppress a sob.
“They LAUGHED at me!”
“So I put on a pair of skates and just skated and skated and skated. The DJ changed the floor to ‘Couples Only’ but that didn’t stop me from continuing to skate as though it was still ‘All Skate.’ One look at my face and no one tried to stop me. My sister tried once, but one look from me was enough. She stopped trying and called my Dad to come and get me. I wouldn’t stop. Imagine that; a tiny, Korean, 6th Grade, girl, pissed as hell and skating herself bloody.”
“I am imagining.” Ransom said thoughtfully.
“Dad came and had to physically stop me and take me off the rink. I screamed a fit and then buried my face into his shoulder and cried my eyes out. But THAT isn’t why I continue to skate now. It would be silly to have nightmares about a stupid boy. My terrible evening was only just beginning.”
I didn’t finish telling Ransom my story. I fell asleep mid-sentence. The sheriff must have tucked me into bed and quietly left.
But that didn’t stop the story from continuing in my subconscious. I relived the events of that night anyway as I has done for the last 16 years.
I have never told this story publicly. But, since that is why I am writing all this stuff down. . . .
(I wrote this in third person a few years ago.)
She felt the room turn cold. She had cried herself to sleep and a noise had woken her. It was the door knob to her room that rattled. She could see the dark outline of someone standing in her bedroom doorway. It was a man; her mother’s brother. He had been staying with them for a few days while he and his wife were working a few things out. She didn’t know what and didn’t care. She had her own problems. But what was he doing standing in her doorway?
She pretended to be asleep.
He slowly walked in. “Hello, little one.” He always called her that. It bothered her every single time he did.
She rolled over and looked at him. He was smiling.
“I hear you had a bad day. Need a shoulder to cry on?”
“No. I am fine. Please let me sleep.” She spoke firmly but quietly.
He touched her shoulder. “I am here for you little one.”
She stared to panic but made no noise. It wouldn’t be proper for her to accuse a man in her family of anything indecent. No one would believe her. She had no choice but to keep still and quiet.
He didn’t stop with just her shoulder.
All she could do was cry silent tears.
I woke suddenly in a heavy sweat and nausea washed over me. I stumbled to the bathroom and my stomach vacated all that was left.
Next – An Apology and a Pastry.