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Why Do The Birds Sing?
“It’s my fault. All of it. Every single piece of it is my fault. Mine. And that is scary. Absurdly, stupidly, amazingly scary, scary isn’t strong enough, maybe terrifying? People come up to me and tell me it’s my fault. Don’t they know that I get it? That it’s my fault?
“That I will never, ever be the same because of it? The one question I haven’t been asked yet, is why? Why I did it? Why did I do it? I don’t know. I have accepted it. Okay, that’s a lie. A total lie. I want to know why I did it too.
“I remember when she was five years old and lied about eating cake. Her mom gave her a lecture about lying, and she decided that she would make sure no one ever lied ever again. So when she went to take a bath that night the shampoo bottle said no tears. She of course had to make sure that this was true so she poured the entire bottle into her eye. She cried.
“I wouldn’t have done it. I mean if I could go back and change it I would. I wouldn’t do it. I guess I could blame the drugs, or the alcohol. But it happened when I wasn’t drunk. Or high. I would say the hardest part is that I dug a hole so deep that I can’t get out. I always used to tell myself, I’d make up for it later…now I never can.”
I look up.
“Have I answered all your questions?” I ask the reporter.
“Hardly,” she answers.
“Well let’s get this over with then.”
“Did you find yourself attracted to her?” The reporter chews her eraser as she asks this, anxiously awaiting my answer.
“She was beautiful. But I wouldn’t say I was attracted to her. She was beautiful,” I repeat. “When she wasn’t covered in bruises. Her hair was long. Her mother would braid it. And her eyes, they were just, just – wow.”
“Do you miss her?” the reporter asks. I look into her eyes. I lie.
“Really?” She presses. I lie some more.
“I never loved her so, how could I miss her, I don’t miss her. I can’t miss her.”
“You’re lying,” she accuses.
“Yes. But not to you, to myself.”
“Do you have anymore questions?” I ask.
“Yes,” she raises an eyebrow as if asking my permission. I wait. “Do you consider yourself a criminal?” I ponder this.
“My mother killed my father. She killed my brother when he was nine years old. I don’t consider her a criminal. So no, I guess I wouldn’t consider myself a criminal.”
She taps her painted red fingernails against the table. “Was it a coincidence then, that she was also nine years old?”
I look at her as if she is mentally retarded.
“No. I did that on purpose. Her mother was long gone by that time, she – she left. Her mother left when she was little. When she was six. Three years before,” I gulp “now.”
“What does her mother have to do with this?”
“Nothing. Her mother was beautiful. I wasn’t attracted to her though.”
“She was,” the reporter says, “a married woman?” The end is higher as if she is asking a question.
“Yes, she was married. And no, I never met him.”
“You killed his daughter.”
“Yes, I did.”
I laugh ruefully. “Harsh is only the beginning dear.”
“And the boy?”
“You, how do you…”
“I love him very much,” the reporter bites her bottom lip. I can tell she doesn’t believe me.
“His name is,” I pause. She raises an eyebrow at me, “Bailey. For my brother.”
“What was her name?”
“…It…it was Caitlyn.”
“How old is he?”
“How old were you when your brother…”
“I was five years old, and scared out of my mind. I was, scarred for life.”
“And how old are you now?”
“How did you know her?”
“She was my half sister.”
“That’s low,” she says.
“Don’t you think I know?”
“Yes,” she whispers.
“I don’t want to be in this jail cell – okay? I have a son now. I want to face it. And be there for him, and I am so sorry.”
“So that’s what it takes then?”
“What do you mean?”
“It takes a child for you to care.”
“It…it…I guess it does.”
“So are you any closer?”
“To figuring out why?”
“No,” the word bites me. Cutting me inside and out. I sigh.
“I’m going to be in this jail cell for the rest of my life. I’ll never know my son.”
“I deserve it.”
“Yes, you so very much do.”