The Forgotten: Ch. 7

 We both sat in silence. I was trying not to get lost in the painful memories again. I wanted to stay in this moment with Katelyn. I didn’t want to get sucked into the past. I’d waited so long for this reunion. The past twenty years had been agonizing without her. I didn’t want to lose her the same way I lost Todd, but I could feel the images threatening to overwhelm my brain against my will. 

I needed to change the train of thought.

“Katy, I know you’ve probably be asked a million times already, but do you have any idea who could’ve done this to Taylor?”

Katelyn bit her lip, and shook her head. “Not off the top of my head, no. Taylor was a very…intense person. He could have made enemies, but not any I know.”

“Intense? What do you mean?”

Katelyn sighed, and pulled her knees into her chest. “He took his job very seriously. More seriously than most. He was very passionate about his craft, a true artist. I admired him for it.” She paused then, smiling softly, and I wondered if that’s how I looked when I got lost in a memory. Probably. “But he often took it too far.” Her smile faded. She looked down at her shorts and plucked an invisible trace of lint from it. “I think it was hard for him to distinguish between his work and reality. When he took on a role, he really took on that role. He didn’t just portray his character, he became his character.”

“That explains the giant tiger display.”

Katelyn smiled again. “Yes, it does. A lot of other things too.”

“Like the affair? With Lesley Lai?”

She nodded. “And our marriage, for the most part.”

“But you stayed?”

Another nod. “I know it sounds overly simplistic, but I loved him. He wasn’t perfect, but I loved him. And I believe he loved me too, in his own way. And that was enough for me.”

“Wasn’t he going to leave?”

“No. I don’t think so. I mean, I don’t know. If he had, it wouldn’t have been for long. At least I like to think so. Whatever role he took on, whoever he became, it would eventually fade. He would come back eventually. And I like to think our marriage was real enough for him to come back to as well.”

Monday. February 14, 2005

“Is our marriage just not real enough for you?” Todd asked. 

He looked tired, like he hadn’t slept in days. I wondered if he still felt he could raise Hope on his own. His promotion was surely keeping him busy enough solving crimes as a new detective. Parenting was another full-time job in itself. Why was he trying to do it all himself? 

“Or is it that it’s too real?” Todd’s eyes narrowed at me, and I felt my own eyes spilling over with tears before I could stop them. I wiped them away with my hand.

“That’s not fair.”

“No, what’s not fair is you asking me out to dinner and trying to act like you’ve changed, but you haven’t. You won’t.”

“I’m trying, Todd. I’m really trying.”

Todd shook his head. “Trying is just an excuse for not doing.”

“Carrie? Are you okay?”

I flinched when Katelyn placed a comforting hand on my shoulder. “Sorry,” she said. “I didn’t mean to startle you. You looked a little lost there for a second.”

“It’s nothing,” I said. “Just a memory.”

She took my hand and squeezed it again. “Care,” she said, and I met her gaze. “I’m really sorry, you know. For leaving you and Mom like I did. I should have called and apologized or come to visit and kept in touch. I didn’t. I’m sorry. I can only imagine what you must think of me.”

I blinked. Her words took some time to sink in. I wasn’t sure how to respond. I’d waited so long to hear her say those words, waited so long to hear from her at all. I’d fantasized about our reunion so many times. 

But here, in the middle of a crime scene while my mind still blurred with the edges of memories I’d rather forget? That was never a part of my imagining. 

It took a minute for me to gather my response.

“Why didn’t you?” I asked. “I get being angry with us after dad died. I get wanting the space to do your own thing for once. But twenty years is a long time to hold a grudge like that. We were your family, Katy.”

Katelyn sighed, and tilted her head back toward the skylight. “It’s a long story.”

I crossed my arms in front of my chest. “I think you owe me the explanation.”

“Okay,” she said. “But not here.”

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