Everyone remembers their first carefree year of college. The girls! The boys! The parties! The hot profs! The coke binges! The police investigating the sudden disappearance of your charismatic roommate! Man, I had some hot profs. (Scott Warren. Mrrrreow!) Surprisingly, though, what really sticks with me – aside from the rap sheet – are the friendships I made with the investigating officers and – if you can believe it – the prosecuting attorney. I know, right! What a star-crossed pair we made, facing off behind our polished wooden tables, distanced from each other by a list of circumstantial evidence that concerned me less than trying to read the words beneath her words – the delicious subtext.
Actual words: “At this time, the prosecution would like to submit a cache of receipts obtained by the suspect two days prior to the night in question.”
Subtext: “I’d really like to discover more about the personal tastes of the cute young woman on the wrong side of the courtroom, but professional etiquette prevents me from asking directly. Perhaps I can glean something from these receipts.”
“Exhibit A, an itemized sales slip from Ace Hardware: 500 feet nylon rope, two five foot spades, six rolls duct tape, two gallons lighter fluid, one hammer, one sixteen inch decorative lawn gnome.”
“A decorative lawn gnome! How delightful! She’s spontaneous, charming, doesn’t take life too seriously. How refreshing!”
“Exhibit B, from Wal-Mart: One gallon Clorox bleach, one pair rubber gloves, various scrub brushes, one set matching bed linens, one pack gum.”
“So considerate! Clean sheets and Winterfresh gum! She knows how to treat a lady right!”
Our dalliances carried on like this for several weeks until I was convinced we were dating. I couldn’t wait to tell all my friends about us, but my lawyer advised me to not speak about the trial to anyone until it was over. The forced secrecy of our forbidden love only fanned the flames of our passion.
Finally, because no body was ever recovered, the jury decided they couldn’t be certain, beyond a reasonable doubt, that my former roommate was even really dead, so they had to acquit. On my way out of the courtroom, I paused to watch my gorgeous prosecutor graciously shake hands with my lawyer. When he moved on, I presented my hand to her, and she just stared at it, overcome with
“I know, sweetheart,” I whispered, closing my eyes to hide the tears. “I know.”
Our physical relationship was all too brief, beginning and culminating in one single, loving slap across my right cheek. I touched her warm palm print on my skin as I watched her march out of the courtroom – and my heart – forever.
Years later I found out she got disbarred for planting evidence, and subsequently developed an addiction to diet pills and gambling on underground ferret races. Dodged a bullet there.
ANNOUNCEMENT! If you liked this post, you may be interested in reading her book Sleep Like This. Dayna Ingram is having a contest for her book over at Goodreads. Just sign up for an account (if you don't have one already) and enter here. Quick! It ends November 12!
Dayna Ingram is a writer and student living in the Bay Area. She received her BA in Creative Writing from Antioch College in 2008, and is currently working on her MFA in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. She works at Half Price Books, where she buys more books than she can reasonably hope to read in a lifetime. She is also the author of Sleep Like This. To the best of my knowledge she has never murdered nor been on trial for murdering her room mate...or has she?