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Welcome back! Did you miss me? I bet you didn’t, but it’s no matter, dear. What matters is that you’re here! You’re back! Hooray!

Stop struggling, please, it really does makes things more difficult. You remember what happened the last time you made things difficult, don’t you? You wouldn’t want to go through that again, would you? I certainly don’t want to have to go through it again—I can only imagine your take on the matter.

So how are things? It’s been years, dear, it’s been so long. Your face!—how you’ve aged! Been under a lot of stress, have we? Constantly looking over your shoulder, jumping at every ding or crash or pop in the street…my, what a life it must be. I must admit, I’ve had a bit of a similar experience, what with being in hiding for so long. My face was everywhere, love, and the fear of capture was constant. Very trying times we live in, no? They say that folks today are more stressed now than folks fifty years ago. I’d believe that. I’d believe that in a heartbeat.

But gosh, how good it is to see you! I really have regretted not having been able to say goodbye the last time—not that it was my fault or anything, but I still regretted that we never had a proper goodbye, especially after all we had been through. I came back with the milk—as you’ll recall, I was at the store, buying milk—and I come back and wow! So much flashing red and blue, darling, what a sight it was to see! The whole street, lit bright, cops and reporters scurrying like ants. I saw the lights from a good ways up the road and ended up turning down another street—Orange Street, I believe it was—that’s why they never found me. I was gone long before they had even had time to set up a perimeter or anything. I don’t think the helicopters were even fueled up before I got past the city limits, darling. I was hauling ass, darling.

Anyway, I drove all the way to Dallas, darling, Dallas! I stayed with my brother and his family—well, their house anyway. They weren’t my roommates for very long if you get what I’m saying! Ha! Gosh, the smell…the smell was unbearable to start with. Indescribable, really. There was a Yankee Candle store just up the road, thank Christ, and I raided the place of cookie-smelling and apple cider-smelling and peppermint-smelling candles and that spruced the place right up! Did you know they have candles scented like the United States of America? “Freedom”, it’s called. What a time to be alive, no? Anyway, the smell of the cookies—the cookies in particular, those candles were quite strong—they took care of any of the remaining unwanted smell. Cookie smell everywhere, love, you wouldn’t believe it. You should’ve been there, love! It was heavenly, truly. Anyway, regardless of the candles, the smell wasn’t that bad once I got the bodies in the bags. Goodness, I couldn’t recommend these bags enough, darling, they were superb. The majority of that pesky decomposition smell stayed right tight in those bags. Such durability, those bags had—best $19.95 I ever spent! You’d never even know a family of four was rotting away in the guest bedroom!

But listen to me, rambling on and on. How have you been? You never did answer me. I know the sock in your mouth might be difficult to talk through, but try, honey, try! If at first you don’t succeed, et cetera et cetera. I must hear all about your travels, dear! Your life! Goodness, has it been a while.

Now, honey, we’ve been through this. There’s no sense in screaming! No one can hear you! Silly girl, when will you learn?

Ah, no matter. I’ve read a lot about you over the last few years. The interviews and the manhunts and everything; they tried—and YOU tried too! With all your heart and soul you tried to find me. I always admired your tenacity, it was one of my favorite things about you! The colorful clothes you wear. The way the sunlight plays upon your hair. Perfume…

Gosh, you know, I must have watched every interview you did. That one with the Couric woman, that was a brilliant interview, darling, you were superb—it really tugged at my heartstrings. Well, the heartstrings, I suppose. The theoretical ones. As you recall you accused me of not having a heart, thus implying that I have no strings to tug. I heard all of what you said about me, dear, every word. I was a big fan, honey, a great big fan. A lot of what you said wasn’t very nice, though, and that upset me a lot, yes, yes, it really did. I wanted to come back and find you right then and there and talk it through but there was just so much protection and publicity I wouldn’t possibly have had a chance! You were a celebrity, darling, just like you always dreamed you’d be! A concert pianist, as I recall, performing symphonies in front of sold out—wait…no, that wasn’t you, was it? Shoot, that was one of the others, wasn’t it? Silly me! Forgive me, darling, I never was very good with faces. Speaking of, those scars seem to be healing quite nicely!

Where were we again? Ah, the interview with the Couric woman, that’s right. I liked that interview immensely, and thought you did very well, but I do have a few notes for you, if you don’t mind. Ahem. First, you misquoted my Latin, which annoyed me to no end. The phrase was mors certa, vita incerta, darling, “Death is certain, life is uncertain.” Maybe you were nervous on camera, which is completely understandable, but you should know that phrase by heart, dear! You should hear it when your head hits the pillow every night! Operant conditioning, that’s called—every night I’d whisper it, so now, even in my absence, you should still hear it. Isn’t that neat, how you can train someone to do something? Like a dog? Do you hear it at night? Do you? You do? Good. You should. Mors certa, vita incerta. Certainly this time you’ll certainly remember, dear, I’m certainly certain.

I also didn’t care too much for your harsh remarks about my care. You know I cared deeply for you, I know you know that. So why would you say such horrible, hateful, nasty things about your time here? It could have been so much worse, darling, you know that too. You lasted so much longer than the others, my love, so so so so so much longer! than all the others. Their care was subpar, I regretfully admit, love, subpar, but yours was four-star, love—nay, five! Five star service you had here, love, like a Holiday Inn you had here! With those little bars of soap and the whole nine yards! True, I couldn’t give you the view that you’d get at a Holiday Inn or a Motel 6 or an 8 or a 12 but it wasn’t a “prison”, dear, your words, dear, you called this place a “prison”! I was shocked! It was not a prison, dear, it was a home! This was your home! That other place that you called “home”, that place you ran away from here to go to, that was not home, dear, that was prison and this was home. But, no matter, dear, water under the bridge, dear, because you’re home again…you’re here again, and here is where you’ll stay, no matter what it takes.
Goodness, how beautiful you are.

So, welcome back! Not much has changed since you and I were here last, as you can no doubt tell. The biggest addition I think is the graffiti. That wall there, and there, and there. Yellow really doesn’t go with this room, in my opinion, but it’s a bit out of my control at this point. Red…now red’s a color that would go fine in here, on account of the blood stains, you know? Don’t you agree? Kids, I suspect. Frankly I’m surprised the kids had the nerve to come here to begin with, let alone deface it. From what I’ve gathered, this place was avoided at all costs for months after the police came through and raided it. There were plans to demolish it but they never came to fruition—local government, dear, you know the story. They dug up my yard though, looking, I suspect, for more, like, bodies and whatnot. As if I’d bury them here…ha! What am I, crazy? That’d be crazy of me, wouldn’t it love? Quite crazy. Foret insanus.

Speaking of kids, by the way, how’s Baby doing? Last I heard you’d given him up for adoption. The folks named him David, yes? I didn’t too much care for that name. I much preferred Jeffrey. Or Edward, perhaps. Jonathan as a middle name. Charles? Ed. I quite like Ed a lot. But I suppose it’s too late. David he is, David he will be. What do you think?

Oh, I’m sorry, would you rather not talk about him? Never mind, sore subject I guess. We don’t have to talk about it. The weather’s been beautiful lately, hasn’t it? The clouds so white, the birds—have you heard the birds lately? They’ve been singing so sweetly lately, it’s been lovely, dear, absolutely lovely. Have you heard them? Have you? Have you? No? Why? They’ve been so lovely, darling, you really should listen out for—

Shh. Do you hear that? Shh.

No, no, darling. Don’t scream. Listen. Shh. Just—listen. Sirens, love. Sirens.

Shut up. Do not make a sound.

……

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They’re gone, I think. Phew! That was close, wasn’t it, love? Goodness. The red and the blue all over again…what a dreadful thought. Them taking you away from me again…I don’t know what I would do, darling, I haven’t the slightest idea what I would do. God only knows what I’d be, love, as the old song goes. I was lost, the last time, love, without you. The whole drive to Dallas, all I could think of was how I was going to bring you back home, and make it a real home, love, a real home. With you and me and Baby here, together, forever, dear. Imagine it! Baby could play outside and I could loosen your chains for family board game nights and we could even get a dog. A dog! A great big one or an itty bitty one, it wouldn’t matter! We’d be so happy here, love, if only you would see! So happy together. Why won’t you see?

Why are you crying, my darling?

Is it the house, love? Is that it? The walls need painting and the yard needs some work, but it’s nothing that can’t be done. We could turn this house into a home, love, I promise you! There is still hope… We could even go get Baby—David—I have his address! I can go and get him and bring him back here and we can raise—

Why are you crying, my darling? Isn’t that what you want? To be together?

….?

Maybe it’s the “trauma”. You called it “trauma”, didn’t you? When you were talking to the Couric woman? “Like I was in hell,” you said. Is that why you don’t want to be here, love? Too many “bad” memories here, love? Yet no intention to make new, good ones, I see. Why won’t you try, darling?

Maybe we can take a vacation. Somewhere brand new. We’ll spend a week there. Some beach somewhere. Aruba, Jamaica. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Baby would really love the beach, darling. He could play in the sand all day—he’d have a blast! Bahama, Bermuda, Montego, Key Largo…Costa Maya! Darling, let’s go to Costa Maya! It’ll be such fun, darling—so long as the red and blue don’t take you away! Ha! Ha! As if I’d let that happen again.

…Why are you still crying, my darling? Your eyes…they look... Do you not like my idea?
That’s...I thought things would be different now. I thought you would have finally seen…
…!!

Goodness, it’s happening again.

This always happens.

why does this always happen???

why can’t something just go the WAY THAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO GO?? for ONCE???

It’s happened so many—so so many—too many—it’s happened just too many times. I see a girl from across the way and it’s instant, honey, it’s instant, the connection is instant. I just feel—I can’t even describe it, love, the connection, it just comes out of nowhere and I feel compelled to meet them and know them. It’s love, I think. I think that’s what they call love. This moment where everything just clicks! and everything just makes sense. I feel whole. At long last I feel whole. And I haven’t even met them yet!

I tried to find someone in Dallas who made me feel like that. Nothing. What’s that old saying? “Everything’s bigger in Texas”. Not love. I felt nothing like the way I felt with you.

I’ve never felt the way I feel about you with any other living thing. Never ever.

That’s why. You asked the Couric woman why I kept you as long as I did. Why I wouldn’t let you go “home”.

It was love. I could never ever let that go.

Have you ever felt that way, love? The overwhelming need—no, stronger than a need—an impulse—an impulse to make sure that you never ever ever lose someone, no matter what? That’s what I felt with you, darling, more so than any of the others. I could have, in retrospect… well, I guess I could have let some of them go. A lot of them weren’t worth my time. But they were all stepping stones that brought me to you. They served their purpose in that respect.

You’ll never love me, will you? Not the way that I love you. Even after all that we’ve been through. We’ll never vacation to Mexico or Montenegro or Montezuma, will we? We’ll never have board game night with Baby or potty train a puppy, will we? We’ll never be a family.

Is there nothing I can do?

No?

That makes me very sad, my darling, very, very sad. Do you know how sad I am?

Shh. It’s okay, darling. We’ll be together one day, I’m absolutely sure of it. I’m certainly certain.
Mors certa, vita incerta, after all.

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How could this happen again?




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