Jodi was starving. She took out the almonds and protein bar, thinking about what had just happened. Maybe she’d fallen and bumped her head. But she didn’t really believe that was all of it. Jodi realized that she had been keeping secrets as much as their mom had. Only she’d been keeping the secret from
Their father left just after bedtime on a Sunday night. He had tucked them into the bed she and Stacy shared. Kissed their foreheads, saying “I love you,” to each of them as he stroked the bangs from their foreheads. Jodi knew something was wrong. She crept out of bed and followed him to the
Jodi’s solace during the months that followed came from riding her bike. Her step mother bought her long johns and heavy gloves, since the weather was turning colder, and a new helmet. She was glad to have her do something other than sleeping—her main activity outside of school and the weekly visits to Dr. Mitchell’s.
“There wasn’t any lady,” Stacy announced. Her feet swung inches above the carpet. Jodi swiveled her entire body until she gaped at her sister. “Yes, there was.” Stacy shook her head, the tips of her blonde pony tail hitting the sides of her cheeks. “Uh uh.” Jodi let go of Stacy’s hand and turned to
“I remember all of it,” Stacy volunteered. Since that day, Stacy had abandoned her idea that by not talking about things, you could keep them from being real. She told the story to anyone who listened, and she told Dr. Mitchell everything—from getting up that morning, to taking the bus downtown, to wondering where their
They were asked to tell him everything about the day of the street fair that they could remember. “Why do you need to know that?” Stacy asked. Dr. Mitchell steepled his long fingers under his goateed chin. “Do you remember that day?” “Yes,” Stacy answered. “And you?” he nodded at Jodi. “Some,” Jodi said. “Which
When her father told her, “We think it would help you and Stacy if you saw a counselor. Just for a while. Someone who’s been trained to help people get through the kind of … trauma that you’ve been through,” it was a relief. Maybe her father had found someone who could help her understand
All the gifts their father and step mother showered her with didn’t change anything. Jodi didn’t want things. She wanted her mother and their old life back. She wanted to look in the mirror and not feel like she was responsible for something she didn’t understand.
She would never recall with any kind of clarity what happened in the next few hours. After some time passed, glimmers of foggy memories would slip in.. …being swept away by officers in blue… …being asked questions… “How did you know something had happened to your mother?” “The tattooed lady put the picture in my
“What about their mother?” someone asked. Throughout the crowd, other voices echoed the sentiment. “Please folks, move along,” the officer instructed. Jodi watched the tattooed woman leave with the rest of the crowd. She didn’t understand. Why was she leaving? How could she do that? She was the only other one who knew. She tried