Meeting Kate was David’s first pivotal event. He had met Kate in his junior year at St. Lucas College, while Kate was starting her freshman year. She was a ‘newbie’ in every sense of the word. So strict was her upbringing that she had a whole list of ‘never done before’.
That Kate, the Kate of his youth – the innocent Kate – the memory of her brought a smile to his lips. He still remembered her in the small quiet hours of the day. She came to his mind like a welcomed cool breeze on a hot afternoon.
The other Kate, the murdered one, the one with half her body blown away – that Kate brought tears to his eyes, brought hate to his soul, brought anger to his heart, brought shame to mind. He never wanted to or liked thinking about that Kate.
That Kate he put away, pushing her as far back into his mind as he could. Only when asked, did he ever talk about that Kate. Only when he was alone in his room, in the dark, could he stand the flood of emotions that came over him when he thought about that Kate. Only then did he cry. Only then could he actually admit what it was he felt. Only then could he think the unthinkable. It was her fault!
“God damn it, why did she have to go and get herself killed?” “What the hell was she and that – that Doctor doing in that lab, that would make someone want to kill them?”
But the alternative to the question was much worse. Why had he chosen to settle in Klan Kountry? “Was Kate’s murder, a Klu Klux Klan killing? Was she killed because she was married to a Black man – to him? Was it because she had loved him that someone killed her? Had his loving her caused her death?
Questions, questions, and more questions were all he had left. Now Sam was saying that he had the answers to all those questions. But all those questions boiled down to one singular question. “Why would anyone want to kill his wife?” How could Sam know the answer to that question? Hell, he didn’t know the answer to that question.
He could feel the muscles in the back of his neck tightening and he became aware that he had been staring out of the interior office window at nothing for the last few minutes. Feeling rather silly, he moved away from the window, and continued rubbing the back of his neck.
If he and Sam were going to do the “Kate thing”, dredging up old memories, he was going to need a drink. He decided to brew a fresh pot of coffee to make it easier to conceal the whiskey he needed to calmly get through a discussion of Kate’s murder.
He took care not to make a mess as he searched the little kitchenette at the south end of Sam’s office for more of the expensive coffee. He knew if he made a mess, Cora — hand picked by Margaret, Sam’s current wife and former secretary – would not so gently remind him that this office as not quite his yet and therefore he needed to respect his distance. He neither needed nor wanted reminding of that fact tonight.
As the coffee perked, he mindlessly twisted the wedding band he still wore. The wedding band was a constant reminder that it was easier dealing with the past than living with the awful truth of the present.