I’m blinded by the light as I approach my driveway. I barely see the sheriff’s deputies as they surround my car. I hear a scream and a heart deep wail and do not realize it is coming from me until my daughter wraps her arms around me. She tells me to breathe deeply and I do until the hammer inside my chest pounds a little less. I must keep on convincing myself that I am good in a crisis.
On Clear Ridge, overlooking Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, the high-tide pounds the rocks and the surf redefines the ocean floor. It is the hottest day of summer. It is nine o’clock at night and there is no sign of an evening breeze. The air is heavy and dry. We fear for fire in the parched mountain meadows. The lethargic crickets have given up on their nightly mating hysteria, save a few whose legs clap to a slower beat.
The fat police man stands back and a younger softly spoken one approaches me. “Do you know where he might be hiding?” He asks. I choke back vomit in my throat. “I think so.” I tell him. “Where?” He waits while I answer. “I know the house. I can show it to you from the upstairs window.” “Can you direct us to it?” “No. I can point it out to you. It is across on the next mountain.” “Can you come with us while we search for him?” Another police man interrupts. “We need her to help identify the body. Can someone else show us where this house is?”
A neighbor comes over to my house and meets me and the friendly policeman. The neighbor speaks Spanish. This will be useful later on. The neighbor gives me his car keys. I’ll need his car when I pick up the mother and bring her home. The neighbor goes on the hunt with the policeman.
“Is she okay?” I ask the policeman I follow down the stairs to the waiting car.” How can she be okay?” He almost yells at me. “She’s dead.” I know. I mean to ask him if her body is intact. Is she mashed to a pulp? What am I to expect? There is no point explaining this to this man who looks like he could have young children of his own....