I miss the days when life made sense. I didn’t know at the time that it was temporary and something to appreciate more while I had it. And today everything is going to change again. I can feel it. Like the sun setting earlier and the dark lasting longer… my life will soon follow the seasons of nature.
I have spent the last several weeks encouraging the darkness to come after me. I don’t know if it is Travis. I don’t know if it is Angelica. But someone is after me because of these two people. And now I am going after them. This tango of life that I have been dancing must stop now. I’ve grown distant from my parents and friends in order to keep them protected. I almost feel like I’m dead already. The great part about dying is you have nothing left to lose.
Travis’s parents have agreed to meet me at Starbucks today. I told them that it was really important that I speak with them and that I wanted to do it in a public place. They were not happy about the idea but they didn’t say no. I need to talk to them about the buttons that I found in the house that matched a jacket that Travis had. I need to explain to them what has been going on and hopefully they will understand I am not responsible for their son not being with them.
I did tell one person about the meeting. I told the detective that I was going to speak with his parents but I didn’t tell him why. I simply told him that I needed to do something to encourage more interactions to hopefully catch the person or people who are coming after me. I did not tell him that I was withholding evidence in the case. I might be wrong but a part of me thinks that somebody inside the force is helping whoever is torturing me. I don’t think that it’s the detective. But it just seems awfully convenient the police seem to get there just when nobody is there to be found. I mean really nobody is that good about escaping without being seen.
Leaving my parents house to go to Starbucks I noticed it was a beautiful day. Beautiful with a clear blue sky and light breeze welcoming my presence outside. I closed my eyes briefly to meditate and calm down. I desperately needed to get back to the life that was wonderful before a can opener changed it all.
Once again Travis’s jacket popped into my mind. The jacket was blue and kind of green and I didn’t like it because it reminded me of Seahawks colors. The pockets were different from most jackets. Most jackets have snaps to keep pockets down, but Travis’s jacket had these special buttons instead. The colors were the same as the jacket but each button had different holes. There were four total buttons on the jacket. I have found three of them.
The first button I found after returning home from being found on ice. The button was laying in our bed on Travis’s side. The second button was found in the condo on the floor after walking in the bedroom. I noticed that it was just like the first button minus the difference in the holes. I found the third button taped to the top of the box that had the marbles in it and that is when I knew that these buttons were being placed by me on purpose. I needed money more than marbles so I used the box now for coins. I then taped all the button I had on the inside. Was the purpose of the buttons to convince me that someone had or killed Travis? Or was this Travis trying to tell me that it’s him torturing me? I must admit I have wondered if somebody has harmed Travis and he has been dead this whole time. But then I remember his voice speaking to me when I was shivering on ice, and then I know full well Travis was at least alive that first day.
Driving away from my parents place I tried to take a longer look at my surroundings. It’s different knowing that this could be the last time you’re seeing something. I don’t feel hope. I don’t feel sadness. I don’t feel anger. I don’t feel fear. And I’m tired of being dead.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -
“Detective Murray… Mr. and Mrs. West are holding for you” his assistant said at the door.
“This is Detective Murray.”
“Detective this is Adam West — Travis’s father. We debated whether to call you or not, but we thought you should know that Tamara has asked us to meet her at Starbucks. Not knowing how far we should trust her we thought we should let you know so that we could have some protection in the area should something go wrong.”
“It’s interesting that you should call me Mr. West. I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Tamara also called me and told me about the meeting and asked for me to be there when she speaks with you.”
“Oh. Well I suppose that is a good thing. We will be there at 10 o’clock and we will see you there.”
Detective Murray noticed the disappointment in Mr. West’s voice. It was almost like he was disappointed to know that Tamara wasn’t planning on something harmful in this meeting. Maybe he was hoping that this would prove once and for all the Tamara killed Travis, and now felt disappointed because this proved nothing.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -
Detective Murray and I got to Starbucks 9:55a. Detective Murray decided to sit away from me so I could speak with Travis’s parents without any distraction. We both ordered drinks and waited patiently. Running a little behind Travis’s parents showed up at 10:10. They apologized for being late and sat down making it obvious that they were uncomfortable being there.
“Adam and Sarah — thank you for coming. I know it wasn’t easy for you to come and meet with me. But there is something that I wanted to talk to you about that I have not talked with anyone about it until now.”
“OK” Adam West said.
“Do you remember that jacket Travis loved so much? The one that I didn’t like because the colors reminded me of the Seattle Seahawks?”
“Yes I do” Sarah said. “In fact I’m the one who picked out that jacket for him.”
Ignoring her irritation I continued my thought. “The one detail I remember most about that jacket is the buttons. There were four buttons for the four pockets on the jacket. What was unique about the buttons is that they were all different because of the holes. The first button had two holes, the second button had three holes, the third button had four holes and the fourth button had five holes.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about” Sarah said. Her eyes were squinted and her head was tilted like she was clearly trying to remember the jacket and it’s specific details.
“The holes that the thread is threaded through to put the button on the jacket they were all different” I repeated.
“OK” Sarah said. “I guess that’s not a detail I ever noticed before. So I have to ask — what is your point?”
“Again, I have not told this to anybody. When I was found on ice I also found a button in my bed when I got home. I didn’t think much about it until I found the next one. When I was at the condo next door I found another button. And then I had a gift left for me at my parents house and it was a box with marbles in it. There was a button in that box too. My point is that these buttons are identical to the ones on Travis’s jacket. They are the same colors. They have the same number of different holes. The reason why I wanted to meet with you, and the reason why I haven’t told anybody about this is because I needed the information to help me trap who is doing this. When I found the last button I knew for sure what I was looking at. The reason why I need your help is I need you to go through Travis’ things and tell me if you have that jacket.”
“Tamara I hope this isn’t some kind of joke. Because if it is it’s not funny. And if you’ve done anything to my son and you are using me to cover it up you will never survive what I do next! That being said — I remember the jacket and I know for a fact that we do not have it.”
At this point Detective Murray walked over to our table and sat down to find out what the conversation was about. The wind started to pick up and it blew my hair around. As a piece of my hair stabbed me in the eye it caused my gaze to shift to the bank across the street. At the Wells Fargo I noticed a figure standing away from the front windows but clearly staring in our direction and the figure didn’t move when I looked up.
“So what are we talking about?” Detective Murray said.
At this point Travis’s mother started to tell detective Murray about the conversation. I wasn’t paying attention to stop her, or explain why I hadn’t told him first, because I was distracted by the fact that I knew we were being watched. For the first time since this started I was staring at the person who was terrorizing my life. I knew it.
“Tamara!” Detective Murray yelled. “Why didn’t you tell me about this? Do you realize that you are playing with our investigation by withholding this information from us?”
Detective Murray’s face was red and angry. I knew that he was angry but I also knew that I was right not to tell him. Now it was time to explain my side of the story, but I also wasn’t looking at the window now.
“Detective Murray… I understand you were angry. But I need you to understand how convenient everything that has happened is. Every time something happens to me the police get there just in time for no one to be found. I have been made to look insane. My doctor even looks at me like I’m nutty while telling me that she doesn’t think that I’m nutty. I have become desperate. My life is become a that of a dead person. And holding onto this one piece of information allowed me just a little bit of control in my own life. It was time for you to know. I knew that you needed to know. But I also knew that you could be the only person to know and that is why I told you about this meeting.”
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the figure move and I could not tell what direction he or she went. The windows were tinted, so it was difficult to see someone move once they moved further away from the window.
“Anything else you want to tell me? Is there anything else I need to know Tamara?”
“Yes. I believe were being watched at this meeting. And I believe that you need to take Travis’s parents to a safe place. Until we know what is going on I do not think they’re safe anymore.”
“And why do you think were being watched?” he asked in a condescending tone.
“Because I swear I saw somebody watching us from the bank windows. I know that my imagination could be playing tricks on me. But I don’t think so. Detective — I have followed your and Dr. Preston’s lead up until this point. We haven’t gotten anywhere. I need you to follow my lead now. Please!”
“Let’s say I decide to entertain that idea. Which I don’t plan to entertain it. What were you planning to do next?”
“Use Dr. Preston to make him believe he has won this battle if it’s Travis. Or whoever this is. It’s time to trap them and use their own game to do it.”
“And how do you plan to do that?”
“I don’t want to tell you that.” Detective Murray rolled his eyes in frustration. “And I don’t want you warning Dr. Preston. Give me one week. Give me one week to try things my way. If nothing changes or everything gets a lot worse I’ll stop. I swear.”
“Tamara. I need you to understand that we don’t know who is doing this to you. We don’t know if YOU are doing this to you. So understand why it might not be a good idea for me, the lead detective, to allow you to take free reign on my investigation. An investigation you have been tampering with.”
“Do you think I’m doing this to myself? Do you? Because I don’t need you throwing out accusations for the sake of throwing out accusations. I need a partner. I need your help by backing away. And you need to protect Travis’s parents. You know everything. Now I need you to trust me.”
I then looked away from Detective Murray and towards Travis’s parents.
“Adam and Sarah — I know this all sounds crazy. I know you miss your son. And I know you want to know what happened to him. I do too. I swear on my life and everyone’s life that I love that I had nothing to do with Travis’ disappearance. I need you to trust me that somebody is messing with me and my life and could be messing with it by taking him away. I need you to have faith in someone you have no interest in having faith in. I need you to follow detective Murray’s lead and have him lead you somewhere safely. Most important I need you to not tell anybody about this meeting, the jacket or the buttons.”
“Why should we do that?” Adam said. “What if we do it and are wrong? Do you know what you would be doing to us as parents if you are using us to implicate our son for something he is not doing?”
“I swear I’m not trying to do that. If it’s Travis doing this to me I want him brought to justice and I want him to stop. If it’s someone else I really want them brought to justice and Travis found. I don’t know what’s happening. I just know that I had nothing to do with Travis’ disappearance and I have nothing to do with who is messing with me now.”
The wind gusts started to escalate more and we decided to end the meeting. I was given seven days and that I would be watched closely by Detective Murray. If I was wrong or lying about anything it was made crystal clear to me that there would be hell to pay. Now it was time to use Dr. Preston. I wasn’t happy about it because I thought that she was truly trying to help me. But I knew she would be the best one to make me look like I have been found crazy.
My meeting with Dr. Preston went as well as I needed it to. I told her that I wasn’t sleeping at all which wasn’t much of a lie. I told her that I felt like I was being watched all the time. I told her that I didn’t even feel like I could go to the local Starbucks without feeling like somebody was watching me from the bank across the street.
After meeting with me she met with my parents. My parents told her about how I was becoming increasingly distant. My parents told her that they didn’t know what to believe anymore. My parents were really angry when she told them about the box of marbles that had been left on my pillow and then I hadn’t told them anything about it. It was decided that I needed to be sent to the local hospital for mental evaluation. Dr. Preston called Detective Murray with her recommendation and he reluctantly agreed to allow her to commit me to a hold for 72 hours. His only requirement was that it had to be open visitation for him to come and see me. Dr. Preston agreed to make that happen.
I pretended to be angry. I told her that I felt abandoned and that she was the one that I trusted. She told me that she was doing it for my own good and that she felt like I was really in trouble. I hope I live long enough to give her the thank you she deserves for helping me go to the very place I needed to be.
Dr. Preston was there when they brought me to the mental ward of the hospital. I had to chuckle to myself. Instead of beige walls the walls were white. The counters were a soft cream color. The doors were heavy oak. And when I was walked into my suite it was a pure white room. The only colors came from the light on machines and chrome handles.
“Well , well Dr. Preston.” I said. “Your office is starting to look a little less depressing. I think that’s why you’re really admitting me here. So that I can know what real depression looks and feels like.”
She didn’t acknowledge my comments with a response. But her eyes said it all. I think she felt a little joy knowing I would be locked up here. I bet she thought I was looking forward to seeing that blue chair someday.
“Tamara this is your room. You will be in this room at all times. There is a TV up here.” The nurse pointed up to a TV that was probably up the wall by about 5 feet and protected by a heavy plastic or glass case.
“Death by breaking the television? Is that what you guys are worried I’m going to do?”
“Not at all.” the nurse replied with a snide tone of voice. “No, it’s the program and you have to watch that might encourage your depression. The doctor will be in the see you shortly.”
“I won’t be seeing you Dr. Preston?”
“Tamara I do not believe that I’m helping you in the way that I should. You’re not getting better. You’re actually getting worse. I think it’s time we get a second opinion. Not just for me but for detective Murray as well.”
OK that response made me want to call her a few names. But I was smart and I held my tongue. After all she was just doing her job and it was a job I was begging her to do.
OK Travis. Your turn. Come out, come out wherever you are.