An Excerpt from Be Brave and Mighty
I park my car outside Senator Brewer’s office in a small town nearby, but takes about 30 minutes to get to. I look in the mirror, wipe the mascara from under my eyes, put some lip gloss on, and take a deep breath. As if the armor of the appearance of composure, would make it so. I climbed the familiar antique stairs to the office, each step creaking, announcing your presence with little subtlety.
When I entered the room, three detectives and the Assistant District Attorney, sitting closely to the District Attorney rise in shades of dark blue and black suits. Why did I always notice the suits? I hear the rest of my family climbing the old staircase, and I turn to greet them. Each one marches in somberly, my dad guided by my mother’s hand. There are lots of “Hello’s” and my dad cracks a few jokes, like “he’s been living in the fast lane” and my mom “only gives him a $2 allowance”. Once the initial greetings settle, the District Attorney jumps in - always starting by assuring us that they are doing everything they can and that they want to solve this.
I believe them. Even now, after all of these years, I believe them. I want to believe them. I need to believe them.
They say things like, “we are no closer than we were in the first few weeks, but we were not that far away then”
What?! You literally thought she ran away or was killed by her 16-year-old boyfriend. You didn’t listen! She didn’t have her shoes on…. You were so far off…
“We are testing more DNA”
“What kind of tests?” I ask, holding tightly to the notebook I took to write notes about everything they said so that later I could decipher it and look for hidden messages. I knew they couldn’t tell us everything, but I also could see that they wanted to give us the answers.
“We can’t talk about what kind of tests.”
“Well, can you tell me where the testing is being done?” I ask, the names of private DNA labs doing cutting-edge work running through my mind like a grocery list.
“No, we can’t reveal that information.”
“Okay” I take a mini deep breath, hoping they don’t notice that I want to throw this notebook in their faces and scream. “How long will the testing take?” I look up from my notebook, so they must look in my eyes to say, “We aren’t sure how long this will take, it is up to the lab and we are doing several kinds of analyses so it is hard to give you that information.” How can they make something unreasonable sound so reasonable?! I am infuriated, but I say “Okay”.
When I sit at the local tavern an hour later with my friends, and we review the notes I took from the meeting, we realize that I have written a bunch of nothing. I love them because each of them takes a look, tries to find the hidden meanings, the subtle pieces of information - I reach into my memory to connect it. Why did they ask us if Molly was wearing jewelry that day? I can’t really remember - I don’t think she did, but what if I am wrong?
Going home is always the hardest part. It is like that first day without Molly - it was absolutely terrifying to go home when we didn’t know where she was. It is still so hard for me to go home and not have any answers.