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August 14, 2017 | Fiction

Police Report

Sonya Gray Redi

Police Report photo

When I told you I wanted to file a police report for our missing love, you turned to me with your best impression of a blank page. I wanted to grab a Sharpie, draw a mustache over your frown, a lost eyebrow, and staple you to my heart once and for all.

“You think it’s that serious?” you asked, among other things. “Yes,” I said, among other things. Later, we watched television and knotted our bodies in yet another uninspiring dance. We would never be Fred and Ginger. I turned some late night tv on, and during the break between the movie star’s laughter and the band, I fell into Orpheus’ cool as moonlight arms. The next day, while we were sitting across one another, towering like sad Shakespearian kings over our slices of toast, I brought up the report again. You stared up at the ceiling. Maybe today the sky would finally cave in on us. The morning’s weather report had been unclear.

“When should I say our love went missing?” I asked from the curves of my puffy white robe that makes me feel both like a child and an afternoon cloud, throwing rocks at your many closed windows. “I don’t know. A week perhaps.”

“When did we take that boat trip?” Our shared scar was at my fingertips, and I was reaching for a razor blade. 

“A year ago.” 

I wrote the date of that infamous boat trip in a demonstrative fashion. My pen and your patience both died in the process. You said nothing and washed our plates. I stared at your back like always, trying to decipher the morse code of your shrugging shoulders. 

That evening we disagreed on the photograph. We needed to send one in with the report, but our love was hard to capture on film. Love hated taking pictures, and when she got older, she refused to pose altogether. We had a couple of her, but they were from years ago, at the beginning of our relationship. I found one hiding behind a water bill on the fridge. It was taken during our third week of dating at a photo booth in a dark corner of a dive bar. “Black and white never looked so happy,” I remember you saying when we first saw it, drunk and dizzy with the sugar rush of lust, your hands like the minivan seatbelts of my teenage years around my waist. 

That’s when you told me that you didn’t want me to file a report. “Unnecessary” was the word meant to scrape my knees and scare me away from the flaming, Michael Bay-sized wreck of you. I presented my case. For evidence, I hadn’t managed to record any of our fights on video, but I had gathered our joyless bed sheets, including the pillow you took when you would sleep on the couch downstairs and dream about Valeria. (A woman I have never met but pictured with large breasts, black hair, and a cat named Plato.) As proof of my dream accusations, I handed you the email you wrote to her and left for me to find on my laptop when you forgot to log out of your account. For clarity on my pain, I highlighted the most damning phrases, such as you “missed her” and “wanted to get coffee.” You rolled your eyes away from mine and for the first time I felt true pity for the woman that raised you. If that email didn’t serve as a motive for why you would kidnap and possibly kill our defenseless, only four-year-old love, then I don’t know what did, I argued. You didn’t know what I was talking about. Our love left out of its volition, you claimed. I pressed on with the rest of my evidence (printouts of sad statuses from our social media accounts, graphs chronicling the decline of our hugs and kisses each evening) in a detached, Law and Order style.  

“So?” you said, forcing me to resort to my best theatrics. I shouted, “You killed our love!” and that everything was “out of order!” My arms swung for some invisible door to slam, a gavel to throw down, while my heart waited for some musical cue to accompany the grandeur of the moment. 

“You think I did it?” 

I needed to call for backup, a 10-4 on the radio, tell you that I was too old for this shit, but my partner was you, and you were mocking me. I grabbed our only flashlight out of our earthquake emergency kit and shined it into your eyes. “Where were you on the night of the eleventh?” I asked. 

“Asleep, next to you.” A rock solid alibi, if the eleventh hadn’t been the day that you also called me a bitch to my face for the first time. A fact the jury residing in my brain would never overlook. 

Later that night you left with each of your shadows. I gave the police my report and posted flyers around the neighborhood in the rain. A few days later I got an anonymous tip that a love that resembled ours was being held against its will at a student poetry reading uptown. I grabbed my bike and went, hoping that it was, in fact, our baby and not someone else’s four-year-old mistake. 

image: Aaron Burch


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