HER MOTHER’S DAUGHTER
Petra was twenty when David, her boyfriend, was found dead in his brand new dazzling red sports car, that had been given to him a few days earlier for his birthday. He was found sitting in the driver’s seat, his head resting on the steering wheel. David had been killed with a single shot fired in his right ear.
Petra lived with her mother Charlotte, who was a thirty-seven years old teacher and had never been married. But she, Charlotte didn’t want to be held ( considered) a single mother like those girls and women who had been abandoned by their boyfriends when they got pregnant. She, very young, had chosen to have a child alone. Petra had never known who her father was, and she had never known even anything about him, so much that he could ( might) well have never existed. Convinced as she was that to raise a child there was no need for a father at all, Charlotte had got ( gotten) away easily when Petra, as a child, had asked where her father was…and why she too didn’t, like her classmates and friends, have a father. Oh, Charlotte had replied, but didn’t she find that all those pretty families with moms and dads were a little, but indeed much more than a little boring ? Wasn’t it better for her to be ( to live) alone with her mother? Didn’t she understand that she was much freer this way? Ah, if she still couldn’t understand it ( this), since she was too young ( little), she would understand just in a little while ( just in a few years). Now for years, Petra had stopped asking about her father. It seemed to Charlotte that her daughter did not lack the father figure at all, indeed that she ( Petra) had even never lacked it. When Petra, as a child, had asked about…her father, she had done so out of the need to be like the others, that all the children have, and not because she really felt the lack of a dad, who, if he had been there, who knows how much she would have found him…at least boring.
Charlotte thought she had managed to be not only a good mother, but also a very friend for her daughter. Charlotte and Petra were very close. They enjoyed so much to be mistaken for sisters. Charlotte was a very beautiful, charming woman , tall, slender, blond as she was, and with a face with Botticellian features. Petra resembled her mother, but she was smaller than her mother, and much less slender, and much less flashy than her mother. She was also…much less blond, in fact her hair was brown. Between the two Charlotte was unquestionable the most attractive and also the most seductive. There were rumors saying that Petra’s boy friends had all ended up falling in love with her mother. Of course, it had also been said ( the same rumor had circulated ) about David.
Charlotte remained (was) completely stunned, very struck by Petra’s calm, impassibility, to not say coldness in the face of that absurd, inexplicable death. David was only eighteen years old. At first, upon hearing the news, also she thought of suicide. But soon, she knew ( learned) that the bullet that had killed David had been fired from outside, from the car window, which had shattered. It could not have been suicide. David had been killed.
“ But who can…who could want David dead?” Charlotte kept wondering, and also asked her daughter. “ Do you know if he was dealing with dangerous people? I mean people like drug dealers or members of satanist sects. Oh, not that I think it possible. He was such a good boy, David, and very solid, too. He was not one to be easily misled…Oh, but then, how could this happen? Do you know what I’m thinking? That it may have been a murder committed by mistake…yes, that there was a mistake in person. Who ( whoever) killed him, that one( he) didn’t want to kill David, but someone else” “ I don’t think so. I think instead that who killed him ( David), he wanted very to kill him” Petra said, remaining completely calm, unperturbed. What a feeling Charlotte had ( had)…it had seemed to her that her daughter did not care that David had died, nor that he had been killed.” Do you really have no idea WHO…WHO could have been ?” Charlotte had insisted to ask, but from Petra, she hadn’t gotten to know anything.
Although her daughter’s coldness in the face of her boyfriend’s violent death made her feel bad, and even scared, Petra seemed sincere to her when she said that she really couldn’t think (imagine) of someone who resented David so much as to kill him.
David had been killed with a single bullet fired while he, sitting in the driver’s seat, was about to start the car. The gun had fired the shot, precise and deadly, with the barrel resting against the window glass. The accuracy of the shot made one think of a professional killer or, at least, of a commissioned crime. On the other hand, whoever had shot through the window had been able to approach David’s car without making him suspicious, and this made you think of someone whom David knew, someone he would never have expected had approached him to shoot him.
Some newspapers had written about fingerprints , or rather parts of fingertips found on the glass of the window, that had been shattered by the shot. Those bits of fingerprints , found on the glass fragments, suggested that the murderer had touched the glass of the window, that he had perhaps beaten with one hand on the glass so that David turned to the window. And this was a particular, or a hypothesis which caused a lot of discussion about who was more likely to have wanted David to turn towards the window, whether someone whom David knew or rather someone who did not know David at all, but who had been assigned to kill him.
It was only with the autopsy that it was known that the bullet which had hit ___just the case to say ( had) centered___David in his ear, was caliber 38 special, since the cartridge ( case) had not been found. And this detail too, with the killer who probably had taken the cartridge away, badly suited a professional killer ( did not suggest a professional killer).
While she kept being unable to understand WHY her daughter remained so completely impassible in the face of the killing of her boyfriend ___with whom she had always seen her get along in love and harmony, it happened that Charlotte, opening by chance a small jewelry box in Petra’s room, found a little copper cylinder, a bit deformed, and with the iron bottom on which a W was engraved. She touched that small cylinder of soft metal, turned it over in her hands, put ( held) it on the palm of her hand, and stood looking at it and looking at it again. That little cylinder looked like the shell of a bullet….and the shell of the bullet that had killed David had not been found…Her heart started beating wildly and Charlotte felt herself sinking into a bottomless abyss, as her head whirled around. However, as soon as she was able to calm down, she put that little cylinder, certainly a bullet case, back into the box in which she had found it. She said nothing to anyone about that finding, much less to Petra, even though she shivered as soon as she thought of her daughter. Why had Petra put the shell of a bullet in a jewelry box? Was that little metal cylinder the shell of the bullet that had killed David? Why did Petra have the shell of that bullet? Charlotte was also tempted to go rummaging in Petra’s room, when she was absent, looking for SOMETHING…no, not something that proved her daughter had…oh, my God, she couldn’t even think about it…that, in short, Petra was guilty in David’s death, but, on the contrary ( looking ) for something that could take away that atrocious doubt and prove that no, her daughter wasn’t involved with David’s death…Oh, my God, how could she think that? But sure, Petra hadn’t killed David…she couldn’t have killed him! But, then WHY was that bullet shell there, in the jewelry box? She always came back to wonder.
Then one day a police inspector, who didn’t look like a police detective, with dark glasses to cover more than half of his face, and the brim of his hat down, showed up at her house ( door), like that, without any warning , and he asked to speak with her, wasn’t she Petra V.’s mother?
No, he didn’t want to talk with Petra, but right with her, who was Petra’s mother. The inspector Rashimov asked her a lot of questions about Petra. What she ( her daughter) was doing? Who did she go out with? Did she use drugs? Did she get drunk often? He, the inspector Rashimov had asked also about Petra’s childhood. What child had her daughter been? Since he knew she had grown up without a father, and this, the inspector said_____oh, to Charlotte, rather intimidated by his questions, he looked less and less like a police inspector… Here, he made her think rather of a secret agent____( and this) could have had a great, decisive influence not only on her character, but also on the moral principles or values of the girl ( of her daughter) . So saying, the inspector Rashimov had lowered his look on his massive hands which he had placed, with fingers intertwined, on his knees. Charlotte felt accused .It was as if that inspector, who even didn’t look like an inspector was saying to her that if her daughter committed crimes, it was her fault, her mother’s fault, who had made her grow up without a father. He, inspector Rashimov, did not say to her clearly that her daughter was suspected to have killed her boyfriend, but he made her understand with subtle investigations arguments, since investigations now could count on the DNA test. He also repeated that there was really no reason to think that whoever had killed David could escape justice. Charlotte after that unexpected visit from that man, about whom she kept wondering who he really was, instead the police inspector he claimed to be…Was he a secret agent? Or rather, why not? Someone who blackmailed Petra because he knew she was guilty? She was now convinced that Petra would still be accused of killing David, whether she really had killed him or not. Charlotte felt that her daughter was involved in a dangerous situation anyway, that even she ( Petra)had not killed him, she had something to do with David’s death , indeed with whom had killed him. And she felt guilty for Petra. She had to save her daughter at any cost. She then decided to accuse herself of David’s murder. To make her confession more credible she told that she had been the lover of her daughter’s boyfriend and that she had killed him out of jealousy , and because David intended to leave her. But she went so far as to tell something else to make her confession credible. Had they found Petra’s DNA in the car and on David’s body? It was she who had put Petra’s hair and mucus on David’s body , on his car, and inside his car, precisely to make Petra take the blame for the crime. She also came to show the bullet case she had found in the jewelry box in her daughter’s room. With her confession, which was false, Charlotte unleashed the hordes of public opinion. Everyone railed against such a wicked mother. It was much insisted on the choice made by that wicked mother to give birth and raise a child without a father. Everyone believed her guilty of the crime she hadn’t committed. Petra also lashed out at her as if she believed her guilty. For Charlotte this behavior of her daughter was a much more heavy burden to carry than her thirty-year prison sentence.