If you asked Jeanne, she wouldn’t say she was brave. If it came to the kitchen, she would wield the sharpest knife and chop the most dangerous carrots, (assuming that carrots were scary.) She would go into the darkest of corners with the duster to rid the house of cobwebs. She would walk the scariest of dogs, she would go to the craziest of parties, she would help the drunkest of people.
But she couldn’t. If you can’t see, you can’t hold the sharpest knife and chop the most dangerous carrots. How would you know the difference between that and a piece of celery? How would she know which corners were darkest, how would she know the difference between a house spider versus, say, a tarantula? Without touching it that is. She couldn’t walk a dog without walking herself into things. She couldn’t find her way to the craziest parties. And how would she help a drunk?
She wanted to. She believed that she could be brave. She believed that she was, because she WOULD wield the sharpest knife while chopping the scariest carrot, (assuming carrots were scary.) She WOULD go into the darkest of corners with the duster to get rid of cobwebs and she WOULD walk the scariest dogs and she WOULD go to the craziest parties and she WOULD help the drunkest of people. Even if she couldn’t see to do it.
And that was enough.
Because one day, that was tested.
She was with her guide dog named Lia, who was a pit bull, listening to the radio in her room. Right as her favorite Bruno Mars song started, (Talking To The Moon) she heard a knock at the door.
She sighed and said, “Come on Lia, baby girl. Let’s go and see what’s wrong now!”
She opened the door and squinted as soon as she felt the warm sun rays beaming down onto her face.
“Yes?” She asked. “Who is it?”
But in response all she got was a hard blow to the back of her head. The last thing she heard was a snarl from Lia and the muffled scream of the person at the door.
She woke up bound to a chair. The first thing she noticed was how her rear hurt from the hard wood of the chair. The second thing she noticed was how her head ached. The third thing was not so much noticing as it was sensing the presence of another person.
“Hello?” She asked. “Where am I?”
“See for yourself,” said a gruff voice.
‘Idiot!’ She thought to herself. But what she said instead was, “Well, you’ll have to excuse me! I am blind!”
‘You idiot,’ she added in her head.
“What do you want?” She asked. “And who the hell are you?”
“It doesn’t matter who we are.” A new, snide voice was added. “You don’t know and you won’t. But we know who you are. Daughter of the rich and famous Bill Gills?”
“Perhaps,” she proposed, “I would tell you if you let me go?”
“Oh, we don't need you to tell us. We already know who you are Jeanne.”
But the way he said her name. She recognized it. Maybe one of her father’s friends? One of her mother’s new boyfriends?
“And we don’t care what happens to you, or what we have to do.” Says the snide voice. “If you don’t give us the answers we need, we’ll do to you what we did to your boyfriend Richy. It really was too bad what happened to him wasn’t it?”
“WHAT?!?!” She shrieked. “WHAT DID YOU-”
She felt another blow to her head.
She dreamt of the last time she had been with Richy. It must have been the day before he left, hadn’t it? When he came home, and saw her on the floor after she had tripped over the table next to their supposedly neon green couch? When he had yelled at her to be more careful, then swatted the dog with his shoe? When she grabbed his ankle, yelling to him to stop, but he was crying too hard to notice? When she heard the click of the door locking behind him in the middle of the night? She assumed he was walking the dog, like he always did early in the morning. But wasn’t it too early? And wasn’t Lia still in bed with her? When in the morning, he was gone, leaving everything behind? How she cried that day, on the floor, where she had fallen the day before?
When she finished crying she went up and made the bed to the best of her ability, thinking he might still come home? When she called her father in the middle of the night because Richy still wasn’t home? When her father cried with her?
She woke up with tears in her eyes. She was bound to the chair still, yet much more loosely. As she pulled her arms out of the rope, she knew someone was still there. “Hello?” She asked. “Is anyone here?”
“You're awake.” The gruff voice stated.
That’s when she recognized the voice.
“Richy?” She whispered like a small child who had just found their fish dead. “Is that you?”
She heard a deep sniffling. “Jeanne, I’m so sorry!” Richy exclaimed. “I had to go! They would have killed you if I didn't!”
Jeanne silently reached her hand out, which he quickly took in his. “I’m so sorry! I didn't want to leave, but they were waiting outside. When I got home and you were on the ground, I thought they got in and hurt you and I was scared but you were okay and-” his voice broke then, leaving so many unspoken thoughts.
She heard a rustling. “Richy?” She asked. “What’s that noise?”
Richy mumbled, “I’m so sorry Jeanne. They’ll kill me if I don’t do it.”
“Do what Richy? Who’s they? Richy? What are you doing?” She asked.
“I’m sorry!” He said sobbing. “I’m so, so sorry!”
“Richy? What are you-” she started before she heard the bang and felt the bullet into her brain.
But he never once let go of her hand.