12/05/17 - 3

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12/05/17 - 3

I can't think. I can't talk. I can barely function. Everything is a blur and I am walking around like a zombie. I respond to questions and move like I'm on auto pilot. Somehow I seem to be able to write, when I'm not staring at the ceiling or the wall. Maybe it will help me make sense of it later. Or maybe it won't make any sense. I don't know what else to do.

Alejandro is dead.

To think that this morning it seemed like the world had ended because I'd had sex. People have sex all the time. There might not have been any going back, but there were different ways to look at it, different paths forward.

Now it is laughable, if I could laugh, that such stupidity seemed all-consuming at that time. Even then, it seemed to quickly wane with Alejandro's reassurances, his affectionate yet non-sexual caresses, his persuading me to have a nice breakfast together.

Why couldn't I have said no? I could have insisted that I wasn't hungry. But he would have gone and gotten something for me. Or I could have agreed to have sex with him again - it would have kept him in the room longer. A million what-ifs, and no way to use them.

So we went down to breakfast. Alejandro, loving and repentant. Me, ashamed but still smitten.

The southern breakfast was still tasty, the ambience still majestic, and my date still matchless. Whether it was the grits, the wood paneling, or Alejandro's lightly teasing banter, I was smiling again.

Smiling, until Alejandro's face changed and his joking ceased. I looked again at the woman who came in. Young, just a few years older than me. Almost pretty, but very pale and somewhat disheveled. I didn't understand Alejandro's fascination with her until I heard him say, "Emily!"

Emily. That name cut like knives. Emily, here? With us? No, Emily was in my imagination. Someone to be discussed in theory. Not a real person, to interact with.

But Emily was here, and she was coming for us. For me. And she had a revolver.

"Alex, you whore!" she yelled. Cheating on me here, in New Orleans! In the Garden District, where we met, where we fell in love, where we lived!" Her voice was desperate, between shouting and crying. 

"Emily, calm down, please" He was speaking firmly and approaching cautiously, as with a wild animal escaped from its cage.

"Casey saw you! She was here last night, and saw you dancing! And kissing! And then I went into your emails and I saw pictures-- naked pictures..."

Pictures?

"You bring her here, while you ask me for a divorce! Do you think you could have waited a few months? At least left her in Mexico? But--"

She had been glancing at me throughout, and now her eyes settled on me.

"This isn't the slut who emailed you the photos. Is it? That woman was older, darker, more... voluptuous."

Ruby.

"How many women are you cheating on me with?"

At this she lifted her revolver and pointed it toward me.

Everything happened there in slow motion. Or fast motion. I can't tell. Sometimes I can't remember it clearly and then at others I can't get it out of my head. Someone was moving behind Emily, trying to shove her, to grab her hand, to disrupt the shot. Alejandro was moving in front of me, pushing me out of the way. And there was a bang.

And blood. So much blood. I was on the floor, and Alejandro was on the floor, and he was twitching. He was bleeding.

And then I guess there was some screaming and another bang. I was not aware of what was going on around me then. I don't know if I screamed or shouted for help. Somehow I got blood all over myself. Alejandro's blood. I must have tried to help him, but I couldn't. No one could. He was dead.

I guess someone called the police, because the police were there. Pulling me away from Alejandro. Checking me for wounds I didn't have, I told them I didn't have. They put Alejandro on a stretcher as if there was some way they could help him. I had never really seen a dead person before, not like this, but he was clearly dead.

And so was Emily. At some point I became aware that there was another body. That Emily, too, was being loaded up on a stretcher with injuries beyond the skill of any doctor. Half her head was a bloody pulp; I could only recognize her from the other half and the hair not covered in red.

What happened to Emily? Did she shoot herself when she saw that she'd killed Alejandro? Or had some do-gooding patron shot her to minimize the carnage? I didn't care. Alejandro was dead. What else mattered?

The police interviewed me. Multiple time I think. I was the one that had been sitting with him. The one that had traveled with him. I gave them my name, my passport. They wrote it all down. My contact information here, in Wisconsin, in Minnesota, in Guadalajara. How did I know him? Well, he was my professor; I was helping him with his PhD research. Were he and I in a sexual relationship ? Uh, yes. Yes we were.

And there were reporters. Ha! Would I have ever thought that my first real experience with investigative journalism would have been on this side of it? It was a great lesson (if indeed I still continue down that path): Don't be a jerk. You're going to come off as a jerk regardless, making money off people's pain, but you don't have to act like a jerk on top of it. I guess I don't really have to write this down; it's pretty well burned into my brain now.

So now what? I told the police I would be staying here tonight. Where else would I go, anyway? I'm afraid to leave, of being caught in one of those predator-journalist's photos to be splashed around the internet as the "other woman" that caused all this and came out unscathed.

Unscathed. Is that what I am? I didn't seem to have physical injury. I have a bruise, maybe from where Alejandro pushed me out of the way. This is one bruise I wish would never heal - his last touch. My last physical contact with him. Just a few hours ago I was lamenting I'd had too much physical contact with him, and now I wish I could have more, of any type. Because I can't.

Justice. Is that what this is? I can't make the right decisions, so they get made for me? Is this God? Would God do this to us, to me? It can't be. Natural consequences for our decisions, that's what Alejandro would say. Except they were his decisions, largely.

And he paid the consequences.

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