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A Statistic of Nothing
It’s amazing what can happen in a moment of your life. In moments you could sing a song. In moments you could spot a plane in the sky. In moments you could kick a ball or lose your front teeth. In moments you could get pregnant. In moments you could find a dollar, break a bone, or buy a new shirt.
And in moments, you could die.
On December 24th, 2009 Jane Bilyk was killed. In the bustling and dangerous city of Boston, Massachusetts it’s nothing out of the ordinary for a Caucasian woman, between the ages of 17 and 25 to be killed around eleven o’clock on a Saturday night.
Jane Bilyk was a 24 year old Irish Dutch female from a small town in Virginia. She had a mother, a father, and two rascals for younger brothers. Her grandmother was a two time survivor of cancer. Jane had an Associate’s Degree in Business Management. She had a social life, drank with the girls on free Friday nights, and even had a boyfriend. She was the average person, not a significant asset to society but she meant something to the people around her.
Forensic psychologists say that if faced with a murderer you should state your name, age, and tell them all about your life and family. This is supposed to prevent the person from killing you. Jane never had a chance to try this tactic. Almost every woman who dies in the dirty streets of Boston at the wrong hours of the night turns into another statistic. The moment Jane Bilyk was murdered in the front room of Platform restaurant on Christmas Eve by stray bullets she became a statistic.
In the last seconds of her life Jane was completely unaware of the fate that was destined for her. It was past closing time at Platform, but she let a family of 12 finish celebrating their youngest sister’s twenty-first birthday. Unfortunately, that meant the cleanup crew would have to stay past hours to take care of the mess the family would more than likely make.
After the celebration was over, all the candles had been blown out, and the kitchen was close to spotless, everyone left except for Jane. She sat in the back room of the restaurant doing figures and calculating daily profits. It was definitely one of the worst ways to spend Christmas Eve. Her mind was filled with everything besides numbers. All she could think about was her boyfriend, Parker, at home fingering the gold band she imagined he bought her as an engagement ring. The nervous light in his eyes when he dropped her off at work that afternoon gave away the surprise. After a half hour of going in circles with her calculations she decided to give up and go home.
The deserted restaurant was almost eerie as she made her rounds. Every movement of hers was routine ? she locked her office door, hit the lights in both restrooms, checked the burners on all of the stoves, and triple checked the safe. Ten minutes later all was in order.
A wave of satisfaction swept over her as she grabbed her coat off the hook and headed to the door. Responsibility was something she always handled professionally. In only six short months of working at Platform she had secured her spot as assistant manager. It was merely another six months until she was the manager of the highly acclaimed restaurant. She was more than proud of her accomplishments, but at that moment those seemed less important than getting home to her boyfriend.
And it was at that precise moment, the moment she thought of pleasure before business ? seconds in her life — when the first bullet crashed through the glass windows of the front room of Platform. It was moving at a speed so fast Jane didn’t have time to react. The second bullet zipped past her left ear, just missing it. The third hit her just below her rib cage. The fourth and fifth penetrated her right shoulder and thigh. But the sixth bullet burrowed deep into her heart. She was dead before she hit the ground.
They say you’ll see a bright white light the moment your spirit prepares to pass into the next World. Or your life flashes before your eyes in one blink. Neither one of these happened to Jane. One second she was digging in her purse for that ugly key chain Parker bought her for their “month-a-versary” that she swore she loved when honestly it was hideous. The next, her spirit was slowly lifting out of the body it had previously been trapped within.
When Jane’s spirit floated out of her body like mist over water everything in the world was silent. There was no loud traffic or angry Italians screaming from the pizzeria next door. The world was at peace with her death. She had no senses but, she could somehow feel the serenity of death around her. She looked down at her lifeless body with ghostly eyes and shed invisible purple tears. All the shadows of what she could have been lingered in the room while she wept. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be, she kept thinking, this wasn’t how it was supposed to end.
Nevertheless, it was how it ended, and the other World was silently tugging at the seams of Jane’s soul. With the wind, she blew out the shattered windows of Platform and into the streets. The night was lonely and dark with the absence of stars as Jane fluttered by. She aimlessly moved with the wind up and down avenues she knew by heart. Her feet never touched the ground; she glided through the cold air going somewhere but she couldn’t put her finger on where.
A cold gust of wind flung her across a street into the stairs outside an apartment window. Inside, a man was pacing back in forth in a small kitchenette. Jane looked through curiously. The man seemed familiar…Parker. He was waiting for her.
But she would never come home. She wouldn’t run in the door out of breath with a great explanation of why she was late like he hoped. In an hour he would call the police. They would tell him it was too early to file a missing person’s report, which he had to wait twenty-four hours to do so. He would yell at them then contain himself and continue pacing the kitchenette floor. He wouldn’t sleep. He would sit next to the phone all night until, finally, he would get a call that he feared with every bone in his body. They would tell him Jane was dead. And he would cry.
Jane went over this scenario in her head three times. Each time trying to force the tears she shed earlier out once again. Except, her initial tears only materialized because it was right after her death while her spirit was still partly connected with Life. Now her ties to Life were quickly fading away.
Without thinking Jane ghosted through the window and stood by Parker’s side. She wanted to cry with him and wipe away his tears. She stared at his honey-blonde hair and mindlessly reached out to touch it. Her hand passed right through his head devoid of disturbing him. She couldn’t touch or feel his warmth ever again. Parker was no longer hers. Jane placed her hand right above his when he leaned against the counter. She could almost, just almost, feel him. It would forever be that way – her so close to him but never being able to have him.
With that thought another gust of wind blew her out the apartment and into the night. But this time she didn’t fly into the street. She floated up and up and up, into the atmosphere and past the stratosphere. The world was too far beyond her for her to see it. A light grew inside of her until she was a glowing remembrance of who she used to be. Her spirit passed the stars and the edges of the Milky Way, so far gone.
In a moment, she was nothing.