May 17, 1989
I remember the day I met Clyde because I had been working at a coffee shop near Grolnick and Ryan’s law firm when he walked in. I had been working a double shift because a friend hadn’t been feeling well; if it weren’t for me taking over her shift, I would never have met him. His blonde hair was slicked back, but stray hairs kept escaping and falling in his face. He was pale with dark circles under his eyes, but what captured my attention the most was his height. He was taller than my father who stood at 6’4. He was wearing khakis, brown loafers, and a pale yellow button-down with a blue tie. Is it odd that I remember this much detail about him? He was handsome considering most of the customers who came in were older, sleezy men who were more interested in the younger workers.
“Johanna, you have a customer.” My coworker Amy said brushing past me to get a customer’s muffin they ordered. I hadn’t noticed that he had walked up to the counter and was waiting for me to get out of my creepy trance.
“Hello, welcome to Downtown Espresso, how may I help you?”
“I need four large black coffee’s with an extra shot of espresso in two of them, one blueberry muffin, and three of your breakfast panini’s. Can you add ten creams and sugars in the bag with the muffin and panini’s? I’m in a bit of a rush for my first day. I’m an intern, which means doing every job nobody else wants to do - like grabbing breakfast and coffee.” I understood considering I was an intern for BB&T during my junior year of college.
“I get it. Since you’re new around here, I’ll put the breakfast foods on the house. Consider it a ‘welcome to the neighborhood’.” What was I doing? I wasn’t supposed to be giving out employee discounts. My family didn’t even get them.
“Are you sure? I can pay for them.” His eyes were so blue and they were clear with specks of gray in them. It sounded odd, but they looked incredible. I think I could have gazed into his eyes all day.
“Yes, will you be getting this order daily? If so, I can have it prepared by 8:45 am.”
“That would be helpful. Thank you so much. My name is Clyde, yours is Johanna?”
“How did you know?” Could he read minds?
“One of your co-workers said it earlier and it’s on your name tag.” With that his order was called. He paid the $14.78 for the coffee, and walked out leaving me blushing profusely.
“You like him, Jo? Don’t get me wrong, he is decent looking, but Anthony is better.” Was she serious? He was incredible.
“Anthony is your boss Amy. That’s totally inappropriate. I don’t like Clyde either, although he is attractive.” It was true, he was attractive and I wanted to see more of him.
“Who cares if he’s my boss? I am allowed to look as long as I don’t make a move on him.” Was she serious?
“Don’t you have customers?” I tried to end the conversation. I didn’t want to talk more about this considering I would just blush more than I was blushing already.
August 16, 1991
Clyde and I started dating a few months after our first encounter at Downtown Espresso. His internship ended after six months after he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer and decided to work for a newspaper as a journalist. A few months later, he started his own advice column in the newspaper where people would send in questions through letters and he would solve their problems. I still worked at the coffee shop. On this particular day, it seemed to be another slow day at work because college students were back in classes, and our only customers were people in the morning on their way to work.
“How long have you and Clyde been together?” Amy asked me. Of course she would ask this considering for the past few weeks she’s been insinuating that she wants Clyde and I to get married.
“We’ve been together for a year and a half almost. He will propose to me when he does. I’m not going to rush him because we haven’t talked about it yet. I would like to marry him, but whatever happens, happens.” I started to grow frustrated with her because it wasn’t like I was in a rush to get married. I was just 24, almost 25, which meant I still had time to get married.
“You want to marry me?” Had he always been there? Shoot, now he’s going to think I’m some crazy girlfriend who wants to get married as soon as she could.
“I mean yeah, I love you and I would want to spend the rest of my life with you. I don’t know if you’re ready, but I am. I’m willing to wait if you need time, but I don’t want to wait for years.” It felt nice to say how I felt out loud, but now he probably hated me. What had I done?
“I was going to wait for a later time, but I guess now works too. I remember when we met, you were staring at me. I didn’t want you to think that I noticed, but I did. I’m not good with words and I know you hate attention from crowds, so I’m going to cut right to the chase. Johanna, will you do me the honors of becoming my wife?” Those in the coffee shop, mainly workers, looked over and were staring at me awaiting for my answer.
“Yes.” That was that, I guess. I didn’t know what else to say. The more I thought about it, the more I began to regret my decision. I guess it wouldn’t matter anymore, I didn’t want to cancel the engagement, I couldn’t do that to him.
June 26, 1993
Clyde and I got married today, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic. The wedding didn’t go how I expected it to go, but it wasn’t a total disaster. We didn’t have the big white wedding like I had hoped for, but we’re married now. When I told my parents they weren’t happy with my choice because Clyde didn’t ask my father for his permission like he should’ve according to my mother. I didn’t see an issue with it considering he made me happy, shouldn’t that have counted? Clyde was kicked out when he was 16 and lived with friends until he got a job. He never told me anything about his family which I always thought was odd. Anytime I brought it up, he got defensive and would yell at me to not bring it up again. It was always worse around Father’s day because he never had a positive relationship with his father.
When we got back to the apartment we lived in, he went to his study to have “alone time”. It was his way of telling me to leave him be so he can get drunk. I never approved of him drinking, I had always been repulsed by the idea of alcohol. My parents never drank, but I just didn’t like the idea of what alcohol could do to people. I hated when he got drunk, he was never the same. Clyde was generally an amicable person, but when he was drunk he became hostile and I always feared he would turn aggressive. He never took it out on me, but there’s a first for everything.
“I’m going out to see a few friends. I’ll be out late, don’t wait up.” He walked out of the study wearing jeans, gray tennis shoes, a red baseball cap, and a red baseball t-shirt with a navy jacket over top of it.
“Aren’t you going to stay? Technically this is our honeymoon. Can’t you stay for a little bit?” I knew asking him to stay had been a mistake as soon as the words came out of my mouth. The best thing to do in this situation would’ve just to shut up and let him be.
“I’m going out, don’t wait up. I don’t need you to babysit me. You’re my wife, not my mother.” I knew he was upset when he brought up his mother whom he hated. Where was the Clyde I fell in love with?
November 12, 1999
Clyde and I have grown apart. In the past six years that we’ve been married, we had a son, Casey. I thought that things would get better when Casey came along, but they’ve only gotten worse. He used to only drink on a weekly basis, now he seems to drink daily. Casey will turn one this December 17. I don’t think Clyde has made an effort with either of us anymore, and I’m positive he’s cheating on me with an intern. I quit my job at the coffee shop and got a job as a research analyst at a local university online which payed decent. I can’t support Casey and I on just my paycheck. Clyde hasn’t helped with any of the bills because he uses his paycheck to drink himself drunk. He promised that he would never let his work affect his personal life, but he’s failed that already.
When were the lies going to stop? I reached out to my mother for the first time in six years since the wedding, but she didn’t want to hear from me. She blames me for being miserable in this marriage because he didn’t ask for my father’s permission. I was young, we both were, and young people make mistakes. My mother made mistakes too, she married younger than I. Maybe this was her way of warning me to wait because he wasn’t right, who knows?
February 7, 2002
I’ve filed for a divorce from Clyde, and he wasn’t too happy. He’s prepared to sue me and use every card he has because he doesn’t want to face reality. My heart broke the other day when Casey asked where his father was. I knew Clyde went out a lot, but I didn’t think Casey noticed. I tried to take his mind off of it because I wanted him to be happy. I started looking for apartments the other day and found one I enjoyed in Maine. I didn’t want to leave California, I had been born and raised here, it was my home. Casey seemed fine with the decision, but then again he was only two, kids change their minds and forget easily. The apartment has three bedrooms which means I can convert the third into a library or study and leave the other two for Casey and I. I was finally leaving Clyde, I felt free at last.
February 7, 2002
Did she think I would let her go? I loved Johanna and Casey, why didn’t they love me? I just wanted for them to love and respect me. I can’t even get my own wife to respect me. Had I done something wrong? As I recall, I only loved and cared for the both of them, but they want to leave me. They’ve played me into believing that they loved me. All women lie, it’s in their nature. I hear Johanna praying to her “God” every night when she thinks I’m “too drunk to notice”, but I do. What does she think God is going to do? Does she believe he’ll help her get away from me? It’s all a conspiracy. It isn’t real, none of it was. Her feelings for me were fabricated, I should’ve known.
March 1, 2002
I took care of Casey while Johanna slept, that should distract her for awhile. I made sure to crush a sleeping pill and put it in her food the night before so she would sleep heavier. I had her tied up to a chair in our bedroom near the desk, I wanted answers. I wanted to know her reasoning behind leaving me. What would it accomplish? Casey would just be between homes which would be rough on his part.
“What the-?” She was waking up, slowly but surely.
“Glad to see you’re awake Johanna.”
“Clyde, what are you doing? Why are you doing this? Where’s Casey?” She asked too many questions.
“Do you ever shut up? If you let me finish, I took care of Casey. He was in the way of our happiness. We can have a discussion about the divorce now.”
“Are you crazy? Clyde let me go! You can’t do this. You won’t get away with this!” She was giving me a migraine.
“Who says I haven’t already? When Casey gets home tomorrow, he’ll see how corrupt his mother was and side with me especially when he finds out you left us both.”
“What are you talking-” With that being said I knocked her chair into the desk knocking her out. I took out the syringes a friend who owed me gave me, and injected her with enough morphine to kill her, and then some.
“If only you would have waited, we could have been a family. I’ll never forget you, my sweet Johanna.”