Deanna picked me up. She was my best friend and most trusted ally. Deanna was tall and beautiful with hair so blonde she made every season feel like summer. We were on a mission. Deanna and I drove her car and parked two blocks away from his house. As a joke we got Dunkin’ Donuts to eat and wore baseball caps for our amateur stake-out. We didn’t have to wait long. We saw him leave the house and my heart dropped. He always wore those Levis. His weird friend was with him. Do guys have sleepovers? They got into his friend’s car and drove off. Nerves took over my body and my hands shook. In a minute they were gone.
I took a deep breath and walked up to the house. Everything so heartbreakingly familiar, but this time I felt awkward. I knocked on the door. Quiet. I knocked harder. Still nothing. Should I just go in? I started to turn the doorknob just as his mom answered apologetically. That was close. She was in the kitchen frying up dinner. I told her I had lost something and would like to check her son’s room if that was okay. She didn’t seem to mind.
As I stood in his room, it was strange to realise how quickly everything between us had changed. I opened the cd player to his stereo. It held the same CD we listened to on prom night. Odd. I layed on his bed. His pillow smelled of his hair gel, but his blanket smelled of a cologne I knew he didn’t wear. Suddenly I realised I didn’t know when he’d be back. Ten minutes? A few hours? I had to hurry. The truth was I had come to collect, but not something I lost. I searched his room. Would he miss this bracelet? Probably not. What about this photo? Who cares, mine now. Then I saw his CD case. Bingo! It was under a big binder full of handwritten papers. His songs. I couldn’t help myself, I quickly scanned some he had written. Kind of wish I hadn’t. When he said I was the kind of girl guys wrote songs about, I thought it was a compliment. I bit back tears. He was so unfair. I unzipped his CD case, flipped to the page which had the U2 album and found the $100 I knew he hid behind it. Although not because he told me, I just happened to see it when I was there months ago. Glad it was still there. I tucked it quickly in my pocket along with the photo and bracelet, but before leaving I squeezed his hair gel between his bed covers. Good-bye room.
“At one point did you think you were taking things too far?” It’s just like TV. Dim, bare room with one table, two chairs and a mirrored wall. The man looks like he had a rough night. His coffee is smelling up the room.
“I didn’t think I was at all. A bracelet, a photo, some money. Big deal.” Remorse was overwhelming me. Deanna and I should’ve stayed home that day.
“A misdemeanour is no big deal to you?” Why do people complicate things?
“Not compared to what he did! You think material things are more important than a person’s emotional trauma?! He made a joke of me!” This man don’t care. I cup my face with embarrassment.
“After you two girls left the house, what happened next?” He’s tapping the table. Annoying. I let the events slowly play again through my mind.
Him and his friend had just come back in time to see me walk towards Deanna’s car. They stopped the car and this time waited for us to drive off. I was shocked and scared to see them follow us. He had never been aggressive towards me before. I had no idea what they were going to do or say. This was not part of my brilliant plan. Nothing felt real anymore. Deanna improvised pretty good behind the wheel. They were literally riding our tail. At a red light we all looked at each other and, I assume he did this to rip me apart even more, they kissed. Been cheating on me with him! Him! That creep! We decided to get whatever-was-about-to-happen over with so we pulled into a Kmart parking lot. They parked like ten spaces away from us and just stared. Nobody got out. I thought they would since they followed us, but nothing happened. After another minute Deanna and I just drove off.
“Is that the last time you saw them?” He sits up straight and raises an eyebrow at me.
“Yes.” Do I look like the kind of person who premeditates murder? Come on!
“I swear it was the last time I saw them! I had no idea there was a shooting until the police called. Look, I was an angry girlfriend seeking innocent revenge, but I would never take it that far. I wanted him mad, not dead!” How stupid and trivial everything now seemed. He didn’t deserve to get shot. I should visit his mom and give her my condolences.
“Mm-hm. Don’t leave town in case we need to call you in again.” He stands up without making anymore eye contact. I sit a few seconds longer before following him out.