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Shane was given a month by the landowner to move out. He only made Shane pay half of the rent considering the circumstances. But even though Shane was given a financial break, it was not easy for him to find an apartment that he could live in by himself and afford that was close to the college he would be attending in the fall. His parents paid his way into Juilliard so there were a lot of expensive apartments in the area. He went everyday to the newsstand to see if there were any affordable listings. After all, the one friend he had in the world that he respected as much as himself, was gone. Rick had dropped out of his life so unexpectedly that after a week of Rick’s departure, Shane was still left in a haze.
Just one week earlier, Shane had encountered a life altering event that led him to this point. It was just last Wednesday when he stood unlocking the door to his shared apartment, which was one of the few joys Shane found in his daily routine. The distinct sound the combination of the key scraping into the door knob and the lock swiftly shifting open reminded him of music, his first love. As he gingerly entered the living room of his friends two bedroom apartment, Shane caressed his newly dyed red and black hair. The long modern cut assured him that as he ran his fingers farther from his scalp his hair thinned out in a feathered pattern.
His life was changed just after a strenuous day of working for a boss that didn’t appreciate him and co-workers that didn’t interact with him, forcing him to sink into the leather couch, guitar in hand. On the coffee table lay two bowls of half eaten cereal atop mail, some from over a month ago that no one had ever bothered to open. Among the mail sat three letters from his mother and father that Shane already knew were desperate attempts to have him contact them. He had no interest though. Being a thoughtful person was not on his “to do” list. He much rather hang out with his band members and write poetry and play songs than write a “touchy feely” letter to his rich, over-worried parents.
It was still just an ordinary Wednesday when he began playing a recently written song just as the phone rang. He usually didn’t answer the phone because it only ran up the bill, but he easily frustrated at that moment and did not want to hear the constant ringing. Almost as soon as he answered the phone he knew something was wrong. His heart started pounding, his throat became dry. The words “Rick was in an accident” felt as if they were shouted at him. There was no way his best friend, band mate, and room mate had died. His mind went blank. He suddenly had no reaction. All he could do was repeat those words over in his head. “Rick was in an accident”. He removed the phone from his ear and whispered goodbye when he realized the conversation had come to an end. What was he going to do? After clicking the phone off, Shane remembered everything that would need to be done. Thousands of thoughts came rushing into his mind. He had thoughts of Rick’s family, who would be in charge of the funeral, who would share his apartment with him since it was too much for him to afford by himself.
One warm Wednesday morning, the week anniversary of Rick’s death, Shane had noticed there was a young woman running after the bus that she had missed by only a matter of seconds. She stopped right in front of him. Shane would usually blow people and their problems off but he could not take his eyes off this particular girl. She had a mysterious air about her that caught his attention and did not let go. Her piercing blue eyes reached his forcing her to walk over to him. She felt compelled to introduce herself and her dramatic story of the morning.
The more she spoke to him the more he listened.
“Are you bored? I’m sorry. I have a slight tendency to ramble.”
“No, go ahead. It’s cool.”
The met there every day for at least a week. As time progressed, Shane found one small affordable apartment that he loved to call his own. He was proud of it despite the distinct smell the previous owners had left behind. It almost symbolized him moving on from Rick’s death. As the relationship progressed, Marie continued to tell him things about herself that revealed how close the couple was. She expressed a sense of relaxation whenever she was around him. He made her smile when she was sad and calm down when she was anxious.
It was their 1 month anniversary and dawn was approaching them. Marie and Shane were still deciding on their plans for the evening because they both liked to be spontaneous. He made and executive decision to drive her to a new restaurant he had heard of from one of his band members.
“I don’t think that is a good idea,” Marie said with a look of fear on her face.
“Oh. I just…I just can’t get into a car.”
“I’m confused. You can’t get in a car with me or you can’t get into a car at all? I mean we have been dating for a month and you have never let me pick you up and just this once I want to take you somewhere and you say it’s not a good idea? You gotta tell me what’s goin’ on” Shane said with building frustration.
“I just don’t ride in cars anymore. Not since I got into a really bad accident about three weeks ago. I…” she paused in mid sentence, not sure of what he will think if she continues.
“You what? Tell me.”
“I was driving down main street and I was talking on the phone trying to change lanes and there was a cross walk that I didn’t see and…” Marie instantly began sobbing uncontrollably. “I’m sorry this is the first time I’ve really talked about this. There was a guy walking across the street and I hit him! Shane I killed him! I killed a man and I just drove off! I didn’t stop to help. I was scared of what could’ve happened to me. I was too stupid to stop and call for help.”
Shane froze. There was no way. How could it possibly be? Was Marie--the girl of his dreams--his best friend’s murderer? He had simply met her by chance. Was he meant to meet her? Was he supposed to turn her in?
Marie’s eyes were covered by her hands and she could not see his expression through her tears until she felt him stand up from the bench. She paused from her sobs, sensing there was something wrong.
“What is that face for? You are scaring me. Shane?”
“Nothing,” Shane replied. What was he saying? This is the murderer of Rick. His only real friend in the world was taken from him by the girl sitting on the bench next to him and all he could say to her was “nothing”. “We will take the bus.”
“There isn’t another bus for 45 minutes.”
“I know,” Shane said sadly. “I have something I need to tell you.”