I, Isabel Scheherazade, teen-aged story-catcher, wish I could revise my life as easily as I revise this blog of my life…
The Killer sits down at a solo table in the coffee shop.
I recognize him from the news: black curly hair, one big eyebrow, whiskers, a faded jean jacket, work pants, and Wolverine steel-toe boots.
He stares at his coffee, pushes it away, and holds his head in his hands.
I slip out of my chair and glance at Mimi (my grandmother, newly in charge of us forever), but she’s distracted. The twins dunked their Lego men in the cocoa and are searching for them in the whipped cream.
I stand at his elbow.
He lifts his head and picks up the coffee. Yes?
You killed my Mom and Dad.
(I now know what it means when someone says her words pack a punch.) His face morphs from blank confusion to startled recognition. My words hit him like a round-house right. His hands tremble. His coffee splashes onto his fingers and the checkered tablecloth.
I wonder if he’s scalded himself. I hope yes, but then think ouch.
His eyes dart back and forth like he’s hunting for an escape route.
And see those kids there? I point back towards my table without turning my head. You killed their Mom and Dad, too.
I stop. I don’t have any more words.
We stare at each other. His face collapses. Tears spill out of his bleary eyes and seep into his whiskers. I’m sorry, he whispers. So sorry. He pushes back from the table, up-ends his chair, and rushes out the door, leaving the coffee.
I watch the door ease shut after him, the bird and viney window curtains whiff carelessly. That makes sense: how many “cares” could cheerful gauze curtains in a cute coffee shop have?
I’m pumped and dazed at the same time. Like a robot, I straighten the chair, sop up the coffee with my sleeve, toss the cup in the recycle bin, and walk back to our table. I’m awe-filled; or awful; I didn’t know I had tough and bold in me.
Mimi stares at me over the heads of the twins. She’s horrified.
Not me. I’m hate-i-fied.