October 25, 2009
The smell of Danielle’s Child perfume still intoxicated my nose a good three minutes after she had climbed out of the back of our car with her arm around Jon like he was an injured football player she was helping off the field.
“Did you think he was going to get that drunk?” I asked my husband Richie from the passenger seat while he squinted out at the near darkness of the forested road and mouthed the words to the pop song on the radio.
“Uh, yeah, I mean, he basically won the lottery. Do you know how many people write and try to sell screenplays compared to how many actually sell them?” Richie explained with an annoyed tone.
“I know you did.”
I instantly regretted my reply, knowing it came off as cold and sarcastic.
“Thanks,” Richie answered back so quietly I could barely hear it over the radio.
“You seem bothered?” I confronted the issue.
Richie squinted and leaned a little closer to the windshield.
“Sorry, there’s just like 10 million different little roads up here and all the names are almost exactly the same. I can’t remember if we turn left on Camino del Real or Camindo del Espernza. Plus, I’m not used to driving in the dark. I hate the god damn hills.”
I turned my attention away from Richie and towards the impulses firing in my brain which told me I could still smell Danielle’s perfume more than I probably should have been able to. I craned my neck around to the backseat and saw her violet scarf resting in the backseat.
“Shit. Danielle left her scarf in the car.”
“Eh, we’ll give it back to her the next time we see her.”
“Oh, come on, you know how that happens. We see her six months from now, forget to bring it and then say the same thing again. She wouldn’t shut up about it, I think she really likes it. Let’s just turn around and drop it back off. We can pull up navigation anyways, because it seems like we’re lost.”
Richie didn’t respond with words, just whipped a U-Turn in the middle of an intersection and headed back the way from which we came, higher up into the hills of Hollywood.
It took less than five minutes before we were back in front of Danielle and Jon’s rustic, yet modern home which looked like it was straight out of a commercial for the luxury car that rested out front on the street.
“I’ll just run and knock,” I announced to Richie and jumped out of the car with Danielle’s sweet-smelling scarf in my clutches.
I ran my hand up and down the clean, immaculate wood of their front door after ringing the bell. I waited for about a minute, fighting of the chill of a Fall LA night in the hills, before I went to ring again and produced the modern, digital tone which sounded like the soft beep of an iPhone as opposed to that of a doorbell.
“Hey,” Richie’s voice yelled out from the car and made me jump up into the air.
I slowly turned around and glared at Richie from across the driveway.
“Just go around the back and put it underneath the deck,” Richie announced.
I followed Richie’s directions and walked around to the side of the house until I was in Danielle and Jon’s little cubby hole of a backyard. A 10-yard backyard lined with thick trees which just barely obscured the houses around them, the yard rested in front of a little patio that was covered by the upper deck of the house.
I tried to keep myself from giving into my own curiosity by not looking into the sliding-glass door which fed out of their downstairs den and out onto the patio, but couldn’t. I shot a quick look through the glass when I set the scarf down on a little wooden table.
Through the glass, I could see a dimly-lit room with a couch and a couple chairs and a small TV. I thought I had been down there before for a party and thought it was a completely underutilized room which didn’t match with the rest of their well-designed home. I remembered thinking it reminded me of the weird, retro basement in That 70s Show, but, what did I know? Maybe that was the cool new thing now?
I was scanning the room to see if it had changed and getting ready to walk away when I saw something move. I jumped and looked away. Shit. It was probably Danielle or Jon catching me staring into their home at one in the morning.
I left the scarf on the table and started to hustle away, but shot one last look into the room over my shoulder, figuring I should see what I actually laid eyes on, since I was already caught.
What I caught was sight of a young boy. Probably about 10 years old, he had a head of shaggy, sandy blonde hair which hung over his pale, cherubic face. He wore a light navy blue t-shirt with some sports team logo I didn’t recognize printed on it and white briefs, known on the elementary schoolyard as “tighty whiteys.” I couldn’t tell exactly what he was doing, but he was standing behind the back of the couch with his head hanging down and concentrating on something which was behind the suede piece of furniture.
I took in the sight of the young boy for a few more moments to try and figure out what he was doing, but cut it short when I saw him lift his shaggy head up and shoot a look out the glass door. I jumped off the patio and dove into the ragged bushes which lined the walkway next to the house.
“Shit, shit, shit,” I whispered to myself while I dusted the leaves off of my arms and dashed up the walkway on the side of the house until I was out front, running towards Richie’s Impala in my heels.
“Why the hell are you running?” Richie asked when I jumped into the car.
“Well that was fucking weird,” I said in between ragged breaths.
“You didn’t kill my friends, did you?” Richie asked while he commanded the car down the hill.
“There was a kid in their house.”
“What?” Richie instantly shot back.
“When I was down on the patio, I looked in the window, into that den room down there and I saw a boy. Looked like he was probably around 10 years old.”
“A 10-year-old boy with Shaggy Scooby Doo hair doing something weird down there behind the couch.”
“I know they don’t have a kid, but just to confirm, they don’t, right?” I asked just to be safe.
“No,” Richie confirmed flatly.
“Maybe they had someone babysit their dog or cat or something?” I reasoned.
“They definitely don’t have a dog or cat,” Richie shot back. “Jon is allergic.”
“Maybe just watch their house while they are gone? A neighbor kid?” I kept searching for answers.
“We were only gone for like three hours, but maybe?” Richie answered.
“It was weird they didn’t answer the door though. Not even the kid.”
Richie had finally successfully led us out of the hills and back to civilization. The sound of a honking car horn announced our arrival to Hollywood Boulevard.
“Should we call them, or call the cops?” I asked.
“No, I’m sure it’s nothing.”
I was bothered by Richie bringing his customary never bothered, never care, state of mind to the situation.
“I’ll text Jon in the morning,” Richie went on.
“Okay,” I quietly agreed, it wasn’t worth it to fight it right now.
My eyes fluttered open in the blue light of the night in our bedroom. Shit. It took me an extra hour just to initially fall asleep since my brain and bladder were still working overtime from the five glasses of the night before, and now, just 85 minutes into my slumber, I was up, staring at the clock on my cable box which announced the time as 3:34 a.m.
That last of the wine still processing, I got up to relieve myself, but stopped as soon as I stood up next to the bed. Something was off about the room. A childish sense of fear had started to seep into my sobering mind.
Someone was in our apartment.
I had no official clue as to why my brain gave me that feeling. There were no footsteps down the hallway, no crashes or clangs from the kitchen or the sound of the front door slamming, but it did and kept me still there, naked in the night, listening for any clue over the sound of Richie softly snoring. Lucky bastard. There was nothing I wanted more than to be fast asleep at that moment, not imagining the twisted grin of some psychopath rummaging through our silverware drawer, trying to pick out the perfect steak knife to disembowel us with.
I dropped back down to the bed to try and wake Richie, have him ease my fears. I was stretching out across our sea of blankets when the jolt of a buzz from over on the floor shocked me. I let out a spastic scream and clutched my chest with my eyes wide and scanning until they locked onto the source of the buzz – Richie’s iPhone, laying screen side down on the floor next to his jeans.
I turned my attention away from Richie’s snoring and focused in on whoever the fuck was texting my husband at 3:30 a.m. That was a lot scarier than any kind of psycho killer or monster which may have been lurking in the dark.
I slowly moved off the foot of the bed, making sure as to not stir Richie and crawled on the hardwood floor on my hands and knees over to his cell phone on the floor.
Richie’s phone greeted me with another buzz and flash.
In one swift motion, I scooped up Richie’s phone and caught it before the screen went to black. I was initially relieved when I saw his two fresh text messages were from Jon.
I checked both texts.
The first just read “Help.” The second was longer.
“We need to talk.”
I at first had no thoughts about the texts. I put the phone back where it was and went back to bed, completely forgetting about the presence I thought I felt earlier. Even if the texts came in smack dab in the middle of the night, they were from one of Richie’s best friends and were probably about something really stupid like fantasy football bullshit.
However, those texts would start to stir my mind, the longer it took me to fall back asleep.
Why was Jon texting him at 3:30 in the morning? Why did Jon send a text that just read “Help”? Did it have something to do with the boy I saw in the house?
It was time to wake up Richie.
Richie reacted exactly how I expected he would getting rushed up in the middle of the night. I gave him a few moments to power up before I jumped into him.
“Jon keeps texting you,” I whispered to Richie once the sleep was wiped from his eyes.
“Who cares?” Richie shot back, clearly groggy and annoyed.
“You should. One of your best friends is texting you for help in the middle of the night, and you don’t care?”
Richie rolled away from me and grunted, signalling that he was done with our conversation.
“I’m sure it was probably a mistake or something. Or something that can wait a few hours. He was probably still drunk and wanted to talk about the Lakers or something. Trust me. I know him. He’s my friend.”
Not a shock to me, but it turned out Jon’s texts were not a mistake and he did not just want to talk about the “Lakers” or something. I found this out when I was stirred from my half-sleep by some texts of my own from my friend Ali whose husband was friends with Jon through work.
“Oh my God. Have you heard about Richie’s friend Jon? I’m so sorry.”
I texted back as fast as humanly possible.
“What are you talking about?”
I got a phone call from Ali in about 1.5 seconds.
I heard sobs before I heard words on Ali’s line.
“What’s wrong?” I asked frantically while I heard Richie rustle in the bed next to me.
Ali started in slowly, having a hard time getting any words out.
“Jon…killed himself…last night?”
“You guys know him and his wife a lot better than I do, but a friend of mine who lives next to him told me, so I thought I would let you know. That’s all.”
Ali hung up before I could say any more.
I turned over to Richie with tears already running down my cheek and my mouth wide.
“Jon killed himself last night,” I could barely get the words out to Richie before completely breaking down.
The half pot of coffee Richie and I downed in about five minutes really did not help our nerves. We paced our dining room just before 8 a.m. trying to figure out what we should do. I wanted to talk to Danielle and the police about the boy I saw in their house, but Richie didn’t like that.
“You probably just saw something that wasn’t there. You know how you get wine drunk?” Richie insisted for about the third time that morning.
“Someone needs to say something, Richie. A guy who just sold his first screenplay for 300 thousand dollars kills himself the next night and I see a creepy ass kid in his house while he won’t answer the door, and you don’t think I should tell his wife, or the cops?”
“I just think if something happened to you like that and Danielle called me up, talking some crazy shit about little kids in our house I would be fucking pissed and weirded out.”
“But I saw it Richie. I fucking saw it. This isn’t a made up ghost story or something. What if that kid did something to Jon and I saw him, and we said nothing.”
“Okay. I’ll call the cops about it. Let them know so they can look into it, but I’m not going to involve Danielle in that yet. If it is something, the cops can talk to her about it and they can talk to you about what you saw.”
October 29, 2009
The next few days were surreal. Richie talked to the cops and to Danielle a few times. He went to their house a few times to talk with Danielle and the cops. A cop came to our apartment and interviewed me about what I saw.
Things hit peak discomfort when we had to go to Jon’s funeral. I had never been to a funeral for someone who wasn’t a grandparent of mine, let alone someone who killed themselves at what appeared to be the zenith of their life and career and watch their parents (and even grandparents) cry at their graveside.
I gave Richie his space. He did what he needed to do. The cops and Danielle knew about what I saw and I can only imagine how bad he felt. I cried for weeks when my friend Lindsey just moved to San Francisco, so I can’t even begin to think how bad it would hurt to have a friend die.
Richie seemed to be doing okay though and I was glad. Things seemed to get more and more normal every day. Richie went back to work. We stopped talking to the cops and we stopped going to funeral and memorial services.
November 1, 2009
The cool nights which finally come to LA in October are my favorite. After months of sleeping with every window open to try and stave off the heat without air conditioning, I relish those first few nights when it feels like Fall might really be in Southern California and you can sleep without the distant sounds of sirens and car horns leaking through the open windows. It’s about as peaceful as it gets in Hollywood for me.
That peace would slowly start to be eroded that Fall after Jon died.
The first time I noticed something amiss about our apartment was about a week after Jon’s death. I woke at daybreak having to pee after a night of chugging water, trying to recover as fast as possible from a cold.
I sat there on the toilet, half asleep and staring at the towel rack when I heard the unmistakable sound of the front door of our apartment closing. I quickly relieved my mind by assuming Richie had jumped out of bed and gone somewhere or went to take out the trash.
That relief up and walked away as soon as I got up, walked out of the bathroom and into the bedroom and saw Richie fast asleep on the bed, no sign that he had gotten up anytime soon. Still in a daze of half sleep, I climbed into bed next to Richie and stared at the wall across the room, trying to convince myself I hadn’t heard that front door close.
“Richie,” I eventually had to speak.
“Ugh, hum,” Richie groaned next to me.
“Did you just go out the front door a minute ago?”
“No. You just woke me up.”
I no longer loved the cool chill of the middle of the Fall night. It now helped my blood run cold as I heard footsteps walk away from our building outside of our bedroom window.
November 9, 2009
I was able to slightly shake off the sound of the apartment door closing in the middle of the night. Richie reminded me of a time a few years back when I swore I could hear a radio on inside our old apartment, but it turned out just to be my brain, which was still sobering from a few glasses of wine, playing tricks on me. He reminded me, I had a little too much to drink that night and that our old building regularly produced the noises of a haunted house since it hadn’t truly been renovated since it was built in the 20s.
Richie’s assurances had helped put those fears towards the back of my head, but it couldn’t complete erase them. I hadn’t felt completely safe in our apartment since, and I did everything I could to never be there alone.
Those fears were on a break on a random Wednesday when I had to run back home from work during my lunch break to pick up my box of business cards for a job fair. Going to the apartment in the middle of an 87-degree day with the sun shining bright didn’t stoke my fears too much.
That Indian Summer sun and heat did little to calm my nerves when I fumbled in my purse for my keys outside of my front door and heard soft murmurs coming from the inside of my apartment. Nearly frozen in fright, I stood there for a few moments with my ear stuck towards the door listening to muttering and trying to make out what was being said.
The voice was clearly male, but I couldn’t make out a single word the man was saying until I heard the voice come closer and realized the man was speaking in Spanish.
“Lo que la cogida.”
I didn’t know exactly what the phrase meant, but I could tell by the tone I heard through the door, that it was said in confusion and frustration. I quickly realized I should have been running away and not running Google translate in my head when I heard the door handle, which was just inches away from my head, begin to rattle.
I screamed and recoiled, hoping someone else was home on my floor and heard me, because it was too late for me to get away from whoever was in our apartment if he really wanted to do something sinister to me.
The terrified face of our maintenance guy Julio popped out of our now open front door. We screamed in unison.
I jumped into Julio before he could get a word out.
“What the fuck Julio?”
“No, no, no,no,” Julio pleaded before I could tear into him further. “Please, please, please, listen.”
I gave Julio a few moments. He had been our maintenance guy for years and the only good one I had ever had in my entire life. I would hear him out for at least a minute. Maybe there was a leak or something in our apartment he had to go in and fix ASAP without letting us know.
“I only went in because I saw someone I had never seen before climbing through the window of your apartment. A boy. He was crawling through the window in your bedroom. I came in to see what was going on, but he was not in here.”
I couldn’t breathe and neither could Julio. His face glistened with sweat, his chest heaved and he hadn’t blinked since I started talking to him. Either he was giving an Academy Award-worthy performance, or the 40-year-old, testosterone-healthy, man who was standing before me was truly scared by something incredibly eerie going on in my apartment.
“I don’t know. Maybe it was a mistake? Maybe it was somebody else’s apartment. I am really sorry,” Julio went on, now looking embarrassed.
“No, no,” I stopped him. “Did you check the closets and stuff?”
Julio finally took a breath and blinked, probably realizing I wasn’t going to get him in trouble.
“No,” Julio said and shook his head profusely.
“Can you help me do that?”
Julio obliged and bravely checked each closet and the space beneath the bed the way my mom would before bedtime when I was a child. We found nothing, but that only turned down the heat on my fears just a touch. I was still utterly unnerved, and unlike Julio, I didn’t get to leave the place and go home and sleep somewhere else. I was stuck in my art deco apartment with the image of that boy from Jon and Danielle’s house crawling through our window.
With that dark image playing on repeat in my head, I walked over to the large window in our bedroom and slammed it shut.
November 19, 2009
It’s sad, but I had almost completely forgotten about Jon’s passing within a few weeks, until I was at a Starbucks across town, picking up a coffee in the 20 minutes I had to kill before a meeting.
The barista behind the counter, working on my iced, decaf Americano looked strikingly familiar. It took a few minutes to put my finger on it, but I eventually identified him as the cop who came to our apartment to question me about what I saw at Jon and Danielle’s house that night.
My face blushed, my entire body swelled with nervous heat. The two of us made eye contact and the guy looked away, back to the bucket of ice he was scooping from behind the thin-rimmed glasses he was not wearing when he sat in my apartment taking notes about what I told him.
The barista/cop kept his eyes down when he walked my drink over to the crowded counter and set it down without an announcement before he slipped out of the barista station and disappeared through a door.
I wasn’t sure what to do. Maybe the guy had lost his job as a cop in the past couple of weeks and quickly transitioned into being a barista? Maybe it was a part time job and he was embarrassed? Maybe he just looked exactly like that cop.
I left the Starbucks with my overpriced, under-caffeinated coffee and tried to shake the interaction off.
I probably would have been able to get over the incident had the night not grown strange once I got home. Richie left for his weekly workout class about five minutes after I got home and before I could tell him about seeing the cop at the Starbucks.
I considered telling Richie to take a night off because an October storm was rolling outside with stiff gusts of winds, and because the power had already flickered off once in the night, but I didn’t want to risk a fight, so I tucked myself onto the couch and prayed the power would stay connected for the 90-minute period of Richie’s class. The awful E! shows I watched did little to clear my mind though, I ended up sitting there for about 30 minutes, twisting and turning both internally and externally, listening to the wind pound the thin windows behind me and watching the lights flicker.
The tone and vibration of my phone about 45 minutes into the lonely night was sweet relief. I slapped the phone up off the coffee table and it immediately felt alien in my grasp. I went to unlock the screen, but my passcode wouldn’t work. I tried it three times, before I gave the back of the phone a once over, saw the distinctive long, white scratch on the back and realized it was Richie’s phone. Identical on the outside other for that long scratch, Richie and I were constantly swapping phones on accident and it must have happened again.
It took about 10 tries, but I was eventually able to crack the combination to Richie’s password (sadly a combination of his high school football and basketball numbers) and dropped the phone when I saw who the text he received was from…Jon.
“Where are you…”
I checked the number to see if maybe there was another “Jon” in Richie’s phone, but nope, it was the same, 858, San Diego area code Jon always had. So either, it was one of the most massive coincidences I had ever encountered, or Richie was getting a text asking where he was from his friend we watch get buried in the ground less than a month before.
I didn’t have time to ask myself anymore questions. A new text from Jon came through and the power flickered at the same time.
“I can’t find him.”
The lights flickered again and full panic mode kicked in. I went to call my phone from Richie’s phone to see if I could reach Richie, but paused when a hard gust of wind hit the window behind my head. Another text rumbled in my hand and the power finally officially took a bow.
Lit by just the blue light of the screen of Richie’s phone, I read the next text with my nails in my mouth and my legs shaking.
“Have you seen him?”
The sound of footsteps approaching the door to our apartment drew me away from the screen for a moment. I slowly rose to my feet while I heard the heavy steps stomp up to the door and stop.
I made a run across the living room to the kitchen, thoughts of the sharp knives which rested on top of our refrigerator seeming like a better immediate option than calling the cops, but I didn’t make it before the front door started to unlock. I stopped myself in the doorway between the living room and kitchen and watched the door swiftly open and reveal a sweaty Richie standing there out of breath in a cut-off tank top.
“Oh my God,” I blurted out with the last breaths left in my lungs.
“What the hell is going on?” Richie asked before stepping through the door. “Is the power off?”
I took a few slow steps back towards the kitchen while I watched Richie walk in as if nothing was off. I wanted to confront him about the texts from Jon’s number, but actually thought better of it. Maybe it would be better to just do that investigating on my own? Especially since it seemed Richie may not have realized we swapped phones yet.
Richie met me in the middle of the room and embraced me with a sweaty hug I reluctantly accepted, not wanting to tip him off to any worry on my end.
“I’m going to jump in the shower,” the little phrase coming out of Richie’s mouth right after we broke off our hug was music to my ears.
I went right for the cell phone as soon as I heard the bathroom door close behind Richie and heard the shower fire up.
I wasted no time in getting the conversation going, wrote back:
“Where are you?”
Thankfully the response came almost instantly.
“Home. But have you seen him? I think he has been going to your place recently. I’m worried.”
The last two sentences of the text were enough to push me over the edge of leaving my apartment. I wasn’t waiting around for whoever “he” was to show up, especially since it had whoever “Jon” was worried.
“Can we talk about it at your place?”
I was in a dilemma. I was pretty sure “Jon” was actually Danielle, but knew I would give away I really wasn’t Richie if I asked too many specific questions. Richie had been in the shower for a few minutes now, I probably had less than two minutes to hit the road at this point if I wanted to have a head start on Richie when he got out of the shower and realized the situation.
A text buzzed back.
I wanted to pat myself on the back when I thought of what I could ask to sideways confirm who I was talking to.
“Wind is crazy, roads might be closed. What’s the best way to take right now?”
I started to sweat. I knew the shower was going to cut out any second and Richie was going to walk out of the bathroom and I knew every second it took “Jon” to respond raised the likelihood of the person on the other line being wary of my question.
Alas, a buzz rang out.
“Take Laurel Canyon. It’s fine.”
That was the last hint I needed. Danielle and Jon’s house was just a couple streets off of Laurel Canyon Boulevard. There was no way these texts weren’t coming from Danielle.
I ran out of the apartment and down to my car in the garage, hearing the shower shut off just as I stepped out the door.
The drive to Danielle and Jon’s house only took about 20 minutes, but it felt like it took an hour since I was looking in my rear-view mirror the entire time, looking for Richie’s black Charger and checking his, and my phone, at every red light, waiting for something to go haywire. Neither of these things happened though, and soon I was parked in front of Danielle and Jon’s quaint, little dream house in the hills, suddenly wondering if I had the guts to go up at knock on the door.
I knew I had to make a move though. My time was likely running thin and as hard as confrontation was, it needed to be made at this point, living with all of the secrets that were clearly circling around me was much scarier than looking Danielle in her face and asking her what was going on.
With all of this forced bravery boiling in my head, I stepped out of the car and hustled up to the front door of Jon and Danielle’s house.
I held my breath when I reached the door and went to knock, but quickly had to stop myself. The door was already open a crack.
I gave a quick knock on the already-open door and then pushed it all the way open.
The inside of the house was clean, still and at least had some lighting, good to see the power wasn’t out up in the hills.
“Hello?” I called out into the foyer before I walked in the direction of the sunken living room I knew was just to the left of the kitchen in front of me.
I received no answer, but I quickly saw something in the kitchen which distracted me – a lone, yellow legal pad resting on the counter, filled with women’s handwriting.
I had to investigate.
The note read:
Please know this was not your fault. It’s the world’s. I couldn’t live with the silent judgement anymore and knowing I would never get to live the life I wanted to live unless I did something awful I just couldn’t make myself do. This was the easiest way out. I hope everyone will understand.
I somehow imagined what was hanging there in the living room before I even looked to the left and saw it. I looked over and saw Danielle dangling from a thick rope hung from a ceiling beam, swaying over a glass table in the living room.
I saw no benefit in closer examining the scene, but I couldn’t help but be drawn in by another note I saw, this one resting right next to Danielle’s swaying toes.
I made my way over and took a look.
A closer glance revealed the paper was an envelope with my name written on it. I gave the room one quick, 360-degree scan before I bent down and picked it up.
I opened up the envelope and found another hand-written letter, written in the same handwriting as the one that was on the counter.
I’m sure you have a million questions if you are reading this and I’m sorry I can’t be there to answer any of them for you, so I will do my best to answer as many as I can here.
This is probably going to be shocking, but Richie and I were together for years before the two of you met. We dated all through college and a couple years after, actually up until right when the two of you started dating. Richie broke my heart when he left me for you, but I understood, he wanted to try something different. The problem was, a few months later, I found out I was pregnant and about a year in, Richie realized he didn’t want me completely out of his life, but he also didn’t want to end what he had with you since the two of you were engaged. So we created a lie, we got my boyfriend, and now husband, Jon, to pretend as if he and Richie were old friends so we could still see each other, at least in a group.
When Jon died, it created a perfect opening for Richie and I to reconnect more than we had before and we slipped back into what we were. I am so, so sorry. It is one of the reasons I had to do this.
I had to interrupt my reading with my own internal question about the brief mention of being pregnant Danielle had yet to address again. What the hell was that about?
I jumped back into the letter.
You’re probably wondering about the child. Well, I had him, but I gave him up for adoption. His name is Trevor and he lives in Oregon. We have never met him, I never told Richie about him and he does not know who Richie is. I was told he recently filed to receive information on his real parents, but only my information would be available.
The letter was a chilling revelation. I couldn’t have felt more vulnerable standing there in the middle of the room, and while I believed the bulk of the letter, something about it was off. Particularly that last paragraph about Trevor as the handwriting on that section looked just a little different than the rest.
Still, I was over the whole thing. My entire world was a smoldering pile of rubble and I just wanted to hose off the ashes and move on at this point.
I tucked the note addressed to me in my pocket. Dialed 911 on the landline at the house, left it ringing and ran out of the house.
It’s funny how fast six years go by. I wasn’t sure if was the complete change of lifestyle, leaving it all behind, or being on island time out in Hawaii which made time go by in flash, but I didn’t really care. Each day was just a numb passing where I tried to suck as much joy out of life as I could, waiting tables, going to the beach and drinking… a lot.
I figured the little café I caught on up in the corner of Kaui where the highway almost ends was about as far as I realistically could get away without leaving the U.S. and without going to Alaska, and for years, it was. Other than the select few family members I gave very specific directions about how to contact me, I never had any little bits of my old life creep back in.
Well…until just a few afternoons ago.
It was towards the end of a quiet afternoon shift when a customer who another server had abandoned called me over. I was in such a rush to clean off the last of my tables, I didn’t even give him much of a look, just took his check and credit card and rushed off to the computer to punch in his order and bring him back his receipt. I could tell he was a very young man with lighter hair, but that was about it.
I went back later and collected his signed receipt and that was when things started to get memorable. First, he left a $20 tip on an $12 meal. Second, there was a little note written below the total line which read: SAY HI TO DANIELLE & JON FOR ME! :). Third, I noticed his name on the bill was Trevor Billings. Fourth, he left another note below his name which has been haunting me the past few days, written in the same handwriting I had not seen since those notes I read that night in Jon and Danielle’s house seven years before.
I’LL SEE YOU AGAIN SOON.