The Perfect Crime
“Scottsboro Police Department, may I help you?” Selena was about to speak, but choked on her words. “Yes,” she finally whispered. “Ma’am, ma’am, you’ll have to speak up,” the dispatcher said on the other line. “Yes,” Selena began again. “I need to report a missing person,” able to speak the words finally. “O.k. ma’am, who is the person.” The dispatcher asked Selena. “My husband,” Selena stated firmly.
Finished with her phone call, she turned to face Michael’s family. “What did they say?” Michael’s mother asked impatiently. With a look of bewilderment, “I think they thought it was funny.” Selena stated matter of fact. The officer would not let me file a missing person’s. He told me Michael was just off being Michael. “Can you believe that?” His mother asked, outraged. Selena shrugged her shoulders, “maybe they're right.” Saddened, Selena walked past her mother-in-law and into her kitchen, where she began washing dishes. His mom and his sisters began filing out the door, “well you let me know if you hear from him.” Selena nodded, never taking her eyes off the view from the window.
“The view of the bluff was so pretty this time of year,” she reflected. Fall was her favorite time of the year. Leaves were changing into the most vibrant colors of yellow and red. A gentle breeze was blowing as she stepped onto the patio. Mountain life was strange in the fall. Nights were cool, but the air was just right in the daytime. It was a lovely time to be outside. Lost in her thoughts. She stood breathing in the fresh air.
Thinking she heard the soft cry of her newborn baby, she walked into the house to check on Jake. He slept peacefully. Selena picked him up anyway and sat in the rocking chair, holding him tightly against her body. God, how she loved this child. Her first born. Being his mom was the best thing life ever gave her. Holding him close, she crooned to him. Jake was all she ever wanted in life. Some girls dream of college. All Selena ever wanted was a family of her own. She dreamt of giving her beautiful baby boy the world. Instead, his father could not steer clear of alcohol and women. It was not the life she envisioned for her son. Before long, Selena realized it almost midnight. She did not know how long she held Jake in the rocking chair. He would sleep with her tonight. “Everything will be alright, sweet boy.” She softly whispered in her son’s ear. Exhausted from the day’s events, she fell fast asleep.
Days had passed, but still no Michael. Her maternity leave was over. The last thing she wanted was to leave her newborn baby, but she would have to return to work. Someone had to support them to keep a roof over their head and food on the table. May as well be me, she thought to herself. The mere thought of leaving Jake during the day made her sick. Her grandmother volunteered. Selena was ecstatic and grateful. Driving into work, she could feel the lumps forming in her throat. Selena dreaded the questions she knew were coming from her co-workers about her missing husband. The police had finally allowed her to fill out the missing person report. By now, the entire town knew her husband was missing. Many people thought the same as the police that Michael was off just being Michael. She knew they mocked her. Most people did. Selena didn’t know what to think. She straightened her shoulders and held her head high as she walked through the doors at work, ready to face the humiliation.
As the months flew by, young Selena had gotten accustomed to a new daily routine. The alarm clock startled her. As she walked by the window to turn off the alarm, she could see the sheriff’s car pulling down her long drive. She knew what was coming next, even expected it, but not this soon. Selena opened the door at the first knock. “Selena Gray,” the sheriff asked. She nodded yes. “Mrs. Gray, we have found your husband’s body.” The sheriff stepped inside without being asked. Selena felt herself growing faint. Slowly, she sat down without knowing if there was a chair there or not. She cried. “Mrs. Gray, is there someone we can call for you?” Selena nodded. Through her tears, she gave them her grandmother’s number. “Selena, I know this is a bad time, but can you tell me again when the last time was you saw your husband?” the sheriff asked her. Still crying, Selena recounted the last time she saw Michael to the officers.
Thursday night, we had a terrible fight. He wanted to carry me out for a night on the town; he had said. We have a new baby. The last thing I wanted to do was leave my baby boy. But Michael wasn’t hearing it. He was drinking, and he called my grandmother to ask her to babysit she agreed. Friday night at 6pm, Michael still wasn’t here. Then, 7pm and still no Michael. I was so angry. At 9p.m., I heard a terrible noise. It was him. He was so drunk he jumped the ditch onto our road and came flying down the driveway, turning 3 doughnuts so close to the edge of the bluff I thought he would drive off it. On the last turn, he parked his truck, but I never heard him turn the truck off. I was so angry and hurt. I left him out there. The next morning, I looked outside but did not see him in the truck. Walking outside, I did not see him. Making my rounds, I walked the entire yard, but still no Michael. “I didn’t know what had happened to him, but with Michael, you never knew what was going to happen next. Instantly, I thought my husband was on another drunken binge. He was always leaving to go buy cigarettes, and three days later I would hear through gossip about him being in Panama City. This was the norm for us. When Jake was born, those habits did not change, but what did change was that no matter what he was doing or what slut he was with, he always called to check on his son. The sheriff nodded. By this time, her grandmother was there, sitting beside her. That is how I knew this time was different. I knew something was wrong. ‘How did he die?’ Selena asked the officer. Softly, whimpering again. ‘We found his body at the bottom of the bluff out here,’ the officer said slowly. Deer hunting. Selena said softly. ‘He liked to look for deer off the edge of the bluff,’ she whispered. The officer added,” it was a deer hunter who called and reported finding the body.”
Her dear grandmother let the officers out the door. She chattered away, but Selena wasn’t listening. Selena was smiling inside. Selena was finally free from the abuse, both physical and emotional. “Free! Free!” she said silently to herself. Selena thought of that morning when she was washing dishes after having left Michael passed out in his truck. She had seen him standing at the edge of the bluff with his back to her and she remembered thinking, “you know I could walk up behind him, push him over the edge and people would think he was out there drunk and looking for deer and fell.” The next thing she was aware of was that she was standing behind him as she gave her husband a shove. Selena stood there for a moment in silence. Thinking about every time he ever humiliated her by cheating on her, hitting on her, ridiculing her in front of his friends, and all the lies she told her family to cover for him when he gave her black eyes and left bruises all over body. She was not sad. She was not sad at all. Jake deserved better than to grow up having to see these things.
It was the perfect crime.