The whole month of August, there’s been a shadow wriggling in the back of my mind. Since I had enough real horrors in front of me in the shape of surgery and houseguests that long ago turned to smelly fish, I pushed the shadow back. I ignored the dark shape, and it never really took form. Sometimes it took more effort; sometimes it was effortless.
When September hit, the shadow suddenly dissipated, and it wasn’t until it was gone that I could see it, recognize it, name it, and remember it. I suddenly knew why August had a shadow.
It’s been two years since our friend and Vor’s colleague was killed. Not just killed, but brutally murdered by her husband that she was trying to divorce. The same man that then came to Vor’s place of work, intending to shoot up his department. He killed himself after shooting at building, lodging some bullets in their office through the windows.
It’s been two years since I sat at home, with my hand on the TV remote, willing myself to not turn on the TV, because I knew what I would see. I had seen a brief flash of the shoot on the news, and I saw his face. I knew. Two years since I knew M was dead, and two years since I desperately, truly, deeply, graphically feared for my husband’s life. Two years ago, I had a conversation with Vor that I will never forget: Vor: “Well, it’s over. She’s dead.” Long pause, with lots of shaky breathing. Me, asking even though I already know, down in my gut: “Vor… who’s dead?” Vor: “M.”
A long time ago, M had said, slightly drunk, slightly wistful, slightly scared, that if she ever tried to leave, he would kill her. But that was a long time ago. But she left. We both went to work the next day, but barely made it a few hours before coming home. Me, because I was made a zombie by crying, sadness, worry, and panic attacks; Vor, because he couldn’t stand to look at M’s empty office. I had nightmares. Vor had nightmares. It was all over the media and there was terrible misinformation, as if M somehow had it coming. I felt sick for weeks. Vor was furious for weeks, months.
There was the funeral, and every one’s hearts broke when they saw M’s children, who look like carbon copies of her. Well, it’s over. She’s dead. Vor… who’s dead? M. I run in professional and personal circles that remember M, and we keep contact with her children.