First Page

Janice

I don’t know where Ric is.  He’s disappeared.  He’s officially a missing person but that would suggest I miss him, and I don’t.  Not officially.

The police wonder about that, why Ric’s secretary was the one to file the report.  But it’s not like she didn’t ask me, it’s not like I’m already so far out of the equation that I’m not a consideration when it comes to the whereabouts of my husband.

“Do you know where he is?” she asked in a tone that barely lifted to form a question.

“No,” I said, and with that it seemed as if the issue of Ric’s whereabouts should have been over and done with, but it wasn’t.  Instead the police came banging at my door, asking to see a husband they knew wouldn’t be there.

And maybe it’s routine to ask the wife down to the station and put her into one of these windowless rooms with the one-way glass.  I don’t mind.  It’s a chance to talk about Ric without having to feel guilty about it.  How can I continue my one-toned moan after my husband’s disappeared?  The man’s missing and listen to her bitch.  To have someone listen further would require a professional, a therapist.  The police are saving me the expense.

“Was he good to you?”

I savour the question.  I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that I’ve ended up treating the interrogation room as a confessional.  A confessional with a mirror so I can check my performance.  A confessional with two priests, Detectives Stinson and O’Malley, and why not?  With good Irish names like that there must be vestiges of Catholic in them.  Perhaps the vestiges of Italian in me recognize them.  They even have a bit of the priest about them – kindly, world-weary, solicitous, ready to hear my sins.  O’Malley, the woman – which I guess is not that priestly – is particularly interested.  In truth, it’s all a bit gossipy.  We should have a pot of tea or some girly fruit-flavoured martinis.  We should go to a bar afterwards and pick up men who are too young for us, but instead O’Malley and Stinson change their tactic.

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