Ten years on the force and this was the case no one ever wants to get. I stared at her photo and imagined the life she must have lived. So young and beautiful. Now lost as I stepped around the stream of blood flowing as slow as a turtle into a red pool beneath her wrist.
I wondered at the fathers and brothers and husbands and boyfriends who once loved her but now hated her for what she did. I felt sorry for them, but as I kept looking at her angelic face in the photo my sorrow turned to anger thinking of how abandoned and desperate they must have made her feel.
Kneeling beside her body, she smelled of lemon and vanilla sunscreen. I put my face close to hers, somehow believing she would open her eyes, smile at me, and say, “Hi, Paul.” Her silence screamed in my ears, “Why weren’t you here to save me?”
I ran outside into the grilling heat of the sun and shouted her name in despair. What fate would put her on earth and end her before we ever met? Why was I prevented from being the one person who could have stopped her? The one person who could have loved her enough.
The coroner showed up and I took one last look at her before they closed the body-bag. It was a process they had done a thousand times. It still never got any easier. I watched as they pulled away from the curb and took her to the morgue.
It was just me, alone in the house now. Her house. The place where all of her laughter and tears made up that part of her life I would never know. The place where she closed her eyes one last time.
She smelled of lemon and vanilla. It was almost as if she was somehow standing there behind me. Could I have wanted something so badly that fate stepped in? Is it possible that one heart could save another? I smiled and turned around.