I had nothing to do with whatever happened to my father. Probably he just got drunk one time too many. It happened every day, as far back as I can remember. Worse after what happened to mom, but it happened before too. He was a life-long drunk, and that’s the best I can say about him.
I wonder if they find you frozen solid whether they thaw you out for the autopsy, or they just leave things well enough alone? They gotta do an autopsy. Nobody just freezes to death except drunks, but sometimes even drunks are already dead when they get frozen. So they gotta find out why it happened.
I’m still in Columbus, Ohio and God knows why. The trade show is long over and I can’t even tell my boss I’m still seeing prospects here with a straight face. It’s Columbus: it’s worth about two full days and that’s it. Unless you’re staying for “other reasons,” he said. “Personal reasons.” Pretty transparent code for ‘not getting paid.’
I went back last night to the club where I met Aaron. No idea why. I didn’t see him, but I saw something else that looked right up my alley. As we were about to leave (I’ll call him Matt because I’m not going to remember his name), there’s Aaron directly in our path. Out of nowhere. He and Matt were friends – I guess ‘were’ being the operative word. Aaron must have been fucked up because his eyes were too shiny in the flashing lights.
He said that I told him I loved him, and I said “I did?” and then “Oh yeah, I did.” And then I had to explain to him how when you do these things, sometimes you say things because they make everything more intense. It’s an experience you’re creating. Matt seemed to get it without any more explanation, but Aaron was beyond livid.
Aaron doesn’t ever say things he doesn’t mean, I guess, or just doesn’t appreciate it when others do it. He’s a real girl, that one. He cried and made a few threats, and vanished into the strobe lights and the silhouettes jerking around like puppets on the dance floor.
I know sometimes weather is only weather, but tonight it is snowing like it can’t snow this hard without a purpose behind it. Snow is quiet but it’s always the quiet ones, and if you were paying attention in the first place you could’ve told that the quiet one was the angriest. You should have known, and so it’s your own damn fault. That’s how it’s snowing tonight.
There’s no point in saying I wouldn’t do something again if I don’t know why I did it in the first place, is there? I just don’t know and it’s eating at me, but not in a sin and repent kind of way. I want to know what was going through my head that made me lash out like that.
What if a guy works his whole life to do things right and good and then something like that can come all of a sudden out of nowhere and ruin everything? That doesn’t make sense to me. Where’s the God in that? How can you build, and plan?
I got a call this morning from the FBI. Agent Lam, it was, asked me to come to their local office tomorrow to answer more questions. I asked if I was a suspect and Lam said I wasn’t, but because of my relationship with the victim I could be very helpful. So, another night in Columbus, Ohio. Maybe my last, we’ll see.
There’s nothing current on the internet about my father’s death. The shelf life of a story about a drunk or a junkie dying in a ditch is very short.
On the way out of the hotel this morning I swore I caught sight of Aaron’s shaggy brown hair around a side street. But I was only a quick glimpse and I haven’t ever seen him in daylight, so I was probably mistaken.
Memory shadows. A sign that I gotta get out of this shithole. The walls close in a lot quicker in small towns. I’m going to L.A. next. I could live for months in L.A.
The FBI interview wasn’t anything to write home about. I guess that’s funny in a way, since there’s no one left at home to read it. Except my brother Jim, but he’s probably already gone back to Atlanta. He knew better than to email me again.
Agent Lam asked the same questions the sheriff did, stuff relating to my father. Then about the dates of my trip here, which he already knew but I guess he was just trying to trip me up. He asked why I was still here in Columbus and I told him what I already told you, I had no idea. Then he told me that some nineteen-year-old guy named Jared Wilson was found dead, overdosed by the river and frozen solid. I said I never heard the name, but when Lam showed me his picture I recognized him immediately.
I knew his name wasn’t really Matt, I told you that. Lam didn’t exactly show me his yearbook photo – it was the “after” photo instead, and I’m surprised I still recognized him. Somehow under all the ugliness of what overdosing and dying and being frozen does to you, he was still beautiful. He was an angel. I recognized him.
Lam said someone saw me leave with Matt/Jared the night before he died. I told him the whole sordid story, and I also knew exactly who fingered me.
I told Lam that Jared was good friends with a guy named Aaron Jacobs who was a waiter at Athena next to the convention center. That Aaron was upset that night because Jared left with me. And I left it at that.
Someone’s knocking on the door as I’m writing this – how’s that for drama. Well, if this is as far as I get and I don’t write any more, I’m sure you can figure out the ending for yourself!
©2012 Jason Anderson