As I said, I drove home from the scene of Roy’s death in a kind of fugue state. My mind was a blank, I wouldn’t allow myself to think of what had happened, what I’d just seen, that body sprawled peacefully on the front seat of the car, a dim smile on the waxy white face. Every time my mind veered in that direction, it was like an electric shock going through my brain. When I got home, I got sick, puked violently in the toilet, then slid into bed, shaking beneath the sheets. I fell into a deep sleep, waking a few hours later, staring into the dark, trying to piece things together. Roy’s death had obviously been a murder. What had the note clenched in his hand said? Sixty-two, tired of hiding, can’t stand it anymore. Roy was sixty-four, not sixty-two. Had the killer mistaken Roy for Victor? The note was in Roy’s handwriting – why would he have written such a thing? None of it made sense. I began to drift back to sleep, fuzzy images in my head, among them Victor with a demented smile on his face. Had Victor been the killer, I wondered. He and Roy had never gotten along. Had Victor sneaked back into his old house, “tired of hiding,” and devised a scheme to kill his brother?
The next two days were like that, a constant, deadening preoccupation with Roy’s murder and Cecily Rose’s kidnapping, two separate events that were clearly yoked together. I couldn’t focus on anything. I desperately wanted to call Alicia to see what was going on, but didn’t want to bother her. In my misery, I went into my studio and attempted to work, but the shocking events of the past few days seemed to have drained my talent. I put a blank canvas on my easel and here’s what I came up with:
I wasn’t in the mood for self-analysis – clearly, I was depressed and angry. It occurred to me to go see my therapist, but what good would she have done? Instead I went to an AA meeting, where the slogans and the chart with the twelve steps on the wall calmed me. Admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable. That was the first step. Over the years, I’d come to realize I could apply the steps to most situations, even those that didn’t involve alcohol like this one. I mused on that word powerless. Cops, kidnappers, murder, dead bodies – I was currently living in a world of crime and ugliness, but I didn’t have to be powerless over it and my life didn’t have to go back to unmanageability as it had years ago, when I was an active alcoholic. At the end of the meeting, I stood along with everyone else and held hands. Then I hightailed it out of the church, got in my car and drove to Alicia’s house. It was one in the afternoon, and Cecily Rose had been gone for seven days. I didn’t care about bothering Alicia anymore. I wanted to know what was going on.