I think it all started on Thanksgiving eve. I saw a report about a woman in her mid 30s who had gone missing outside her home, just up the street from us. I got a little shiver, thinking there was a madman on the loose in our quaint little suburb and was extra vigilant about setting the alarm once the lights were out.
A few reports later, they determined that her ex-boyfriend was the prime suspect and I got a sense of relaxation from that news. Apparently she had just taken out a restraining order against him one week prior, a neighbor had reportedly seen a strange man lurking around her home that evening, and all signs pointed in his direction.
Yes, I was relieved that it wasn’t random. But it didn’t stop me from being consumed by it all weekend.
I thought of her while I cued up the Christmas carols on iTunes. I thought of her while I sipped red wine, marveling at the Thanksgiving centerpiece I had managed to pull together in one afternoon. I thought of her while I perused Black Friday sales online, continuously being drawn back to the local news updates on her case. I thought of her while I drove through our neighborhood, two giggling kids in the backseat. I thought of her when I brushed my teeth at night and tucked my little life safely into bed.
And then when they announced her body had been found and their suspect was firmly behind bars bringing back a sense of security and safety to the suburbs that surround us, I thought of her daughter, who was fast asleep when this happened and woke up to a nightmare like no other. Who won’t be back at school today, full of food-related tales to share with her friends. Who won’t go Christmas shopping with her mom this year and spend too much on too little. Who won’t put up the tree, make a memory, or ring in the New Year with hopes and dreams for an excellent 2012.
And I couldn’t stop thinking.