The Mind's Eye

a serial killer is staking out his victims, moving into the neighborhood where they live, befriending them, and then making the ultimate betrayal. Meanwhile, Katie Crawford is trying to get her life back on track after an attempted abduction 14 years earlier left her scarred, both physically and emotionally. But circumstances propel her not only into the murder investigations, but also the possibility that her stalker from years ago has resurfaced and has set his compass on her yet again.

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8. chapter 8 Jimmy Spring 2012

 

Spring   2012   (continued)    Jimmy

 

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

             Andre Gide

 

 

      He never would have noticed her had she not stepped off the curb and into the path of his 1998 Ford Truck. The brakes squealed as he slammed down hard and the pedal went flat to the floor as the truck lurched instantly. She looked up and jumped backwards, pulling the stroller with a little girl out of the way. There was a look on her face as she squinted in the setting sun.

     But then she smiled, as her hand shielded her eyes and she waved apologetically, motioning him by.

      He knew her instantly. It was her smile whose reflection danced off the broken windshield into shards of light throughout the cab. Only one person had ever had that smile that could turn his thoughts into a jumbled mass of confusion.

      Lowering his head, pretending to reach down for some unknown object, he waved for her to cross. He glanced up to see her stroll past his truck and onto the sidewalk. As she crossed, he took a long anxious breath, inhaling the essence of her. He imagined a mixture of honeysuckle and musk, even though some part of him realized that she was too far away for him to actually sense her.

     But he remembered. He felt the familiar urges begin to pulsate, the ones he had tried so hard to turn into being protective more than possessive.

     At the corner, he let her walk far enough ahead so she would not notice him. He felt the sweat drip on his upper lip and he chewed inside his cheek. He stretched his neck to ease the tension and saw the throbbing vein on his forehead in his reflection. In that instant he knew he was very close to losing the battle between good and evil. His mind raced with a thousand thoughts as he wiped his forehead with his shirt, and turned on the radio. He chose a song on his homemade CD that would calm him down.

     Multiple thoughts raced through his mind, as he stopped at the stop sign and watched her turn into a driveway, saw another woman come out and take the little girl. One part of his mixed up mind felt relief. Although he hadn’t been aware, but part of him had been stunned to see that she had a child. Through his rehabilitation and mind retraining, he hadn’t imagined that she would have had any children. Seeing her with a little girl had started the confusion and the racing thoughts.

     Throughout the years, he had never seen her as someone who would get better and have a family. He certainly couldn’t, even though at some point in his life he hoped he could. But after what had happened to her, what he did to her…with her scars and matted sections of her hair that she covered beautifully, he never thought that she would be able to move on. He felt bound to her by contrition, and it had never entered his thoughts that she would not be bound to him. It wasn’t a control issue, he reassured himself. He had just never thought of her being anything but a parallel to his world.

     But now, seeing how the other woman took the little girl, he realized that she was not her daughter. Part of his thinking was that it was all right. But his heart sank. He could still be her protector and not her pursuer. This was an instant reminder of the amends he needed to make. If he ever did anything that would even be perceived as threatening, he would lose her forever.

     Yet, as he watched her enter her house, he made a mental note of the car parked in the driveway, just in case it was hers.

     He pulled through the stop sign, drove down a few streets and turned around. But instead of driving further, he pulled up against the curb, under the dark protection of the trees, put the gear in park and began to sob. Hard. All the pent up emotions, all the times he went to the meetings where she would monitor questions; every time he did not tell his sponsor or therapist that SHE was in this very room every month came out in each horrible sob.

     He just didn’t know what to do.

    He had spent years learning how to control his behavior, working hard to change, helping his mother whenever she needed him.  He did everything he had to do to try to be “normal” so that one day, he too might be able to find someone, anyone to love and love him back. He wanted a family.

     But he knew he was nowhere near ready for that. The ghost of his father, the memories of what he had done to Katie Crawford, would continue to haunt him if he let them. Why couldn’t he be normal? Why couldn’t he have feelings towards someone and want to be their protector?

   Why was he so troubled when he felt that she had moved on, when he should have been happy for her? Why was he still so possessed by the needs of being near her?

     His mind raced into a past he never wanted to revisit. When did it all start? How had he become this person? He knew without a doubt that it would end someday. It had to.

     But more frightening than anything else, he was worried about how it would end.

 

     At some point, sitting in the car, he realized he had become a blubbering mess. He reached for an old work shirt to wipe up his face as a flashlight shone through the window. He looked up and saw a man in a flannel shirt standing behind the car.

     “Sir, can I help you?”

     Wiping his face, Jimmy squinted into the bright light and said, “I’m sorry. I just put down my dog. He was my best friend.” The lie came out so easily, just like it used to years ago.

     “Are you okay to drive? We can talk a few minutes if it will help.”

     “No, no…I’ll be fine. My wife says I’m way too attached to that dog anyway.”

     “Hey, I understand. A pet is like family.” The man lowered his flashlight but kept the emergency cell phone in his hand. He had on the familiar blue vest of the “Neighborhood Watch” team. Another man was approaching, and Jimmy knew he had to get out of there quickly.

     “What was your dog’s name?”

     “Dorothy.” He managed a little smile when he gave the name of his mother, whom he loved. “I know it’ a silly name, but she was just like Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz.” Strong, likable…” He was rambling so he just stopped.

     “That’s a good name for a dog. I’m sorry for your loss. Take care and have a better night.”

     “Thank you, sir.” Jimmy offered his hand and then pulled it back, realizing he still had the sticky shirt in that hand. “Thank you for your kind words.”

     “No problem. You have a good night, sir. Drive carefully.”

     Nodding, Jimmy rolled up the window and slowly pulled away. All rambled thoughts had disappeared instantly when the man had spoken. He drove slowly down the street, through the street sign, making every effort to not look towards that house where Katie Crawford went. He sighed, relieved that the turbulence in his head was calming down.

     He looked in the rearview mirror, and hoped to see the two men walking along the sidewalk, protecting their community. What he saw was the first man speaking into the emergency cell and the other man writing something down in an open pad.

   

He pushed down the fear and realized that in all this turmoil, he knew there was one thing he could do. Now that he was calmer, he had a moment of clarity. It was choice time. If he truly wanted to change, and he did, he needed to make a phone call. He reached for the phone and pressed a number to dial his therapist first. He knew he should be the first one to tell and even though he didn’t WANT to, he knew he had to make this call if he were ever to get better. He wanted so much to get Katie Crawford out of his head and his heart. He wanted so much to have normal feelings, friendship feelings for her, or no feelings whatsoever.

     He hoped that maybe his therapist would not answer. But prayed that he would. After several rings, he started to hang up, but he held on for one more ring.

     When a voice answered, he merely said, “Frank, I need help. I need to tell you something.”

     They agreed to meet at Frank’s house which was just past a small group of apartment homes that had just opened for leasing. A fleeting thought made Jimmy feel normal. He wondered if one day, he would be able to move out from the comfort and the safety of his mother’s house, and live by himself. He knew he would like that.

     But with that decision would also come tremendous changes and abilities and efforts that he wasn’t sure he would ever have.

     “One day at a time,” was his motto. He had to believe that. He had lived that for a very long time. If he thought the future-next year, next week, or even tomorrow….he knew he would not be able to handle the immense pressure his thoughts would place on him. He knew he wasn’t ready. Not yet.

     With that thought, he knew he could hope, but only for a second, that one day he might live in a place where the trees danced over the water that sprang form a fountain that welcomed new visitors to a place close to Heaven.

     Tears swelled in his eyes as he passed the new apartment homes with their families and their friends and their lives so intact. The phone rang as he saw Frank standing at the corner of the street where the gated community of apartment homes gently rolled into a community with cast iron lampposts and sprinkler systems than came on after dusk.

     He pulled up into the driveway and got out. Shaking Frank’s hand, he welcomed the comforting arm that embraced his shoulders. When he stepped inside the house, and smelled the fresh coffee brewing in the kitchen, all thoughts of Katie Crawford disappeared. For now, having made the right choice to tell Frank everything over the past few month, he felt safe. In Frank’s house, as he did in his Mother’s house, he felt at home.

Spring   2012   (continued)    Jimmy

 

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

             Andre Gide

 

 

      He never would have noticed her had she not stepped off the curb and into the path of his 1998 Ford Truck. The brakes squealed as he slammed down hard and the pedal went flat to the floor as the truck lurched instantly. She looked up and jumped backwards, pulling the stroller with a little girl out of the way. There was a look on her face as she squinted in the setting sun.

     But then she smiled, as her hand shielded her eyes and she waved apologetically, motioning him by.

      He knew her instantly. It was her smile whose reflection danced off the broken windshield into shards of light throughout the cab. Only one person had ever had that smile that could turn his thoughts into a jumbled mass of confusion.

      Lowering his head, pretending to reach down for some unknown object, he waved for her to cross. He glanced up to see her stroll past his truck and onto the sidewalk. As she crossed, he took a long anxious breath, inhaling the essence of her. He imagined a mixture of honeysuckle and musk, even though some part of him realized that she was too far away for him to actually sense her.

     But he remembered. He felt the familiar urges begin to pulsate, the ones he had tried so hard to turn into being protective more than possessive.

     At the corner, he let her walk far enough ahead so she would not notice him. He felt the sweat drip on his upper lip and he chewed inside his cheek. He stretched his neck to ease the tension and saw the throbbing vein on his forehead in his reflection. In that instant he knew he was very close to losing the battle between good and evil. His mind raced with a thousand thoughts as he wiped his forehead with his shirt, and turned on the radio. He chose a song on his homemade CD that would calm him down.

     Multiple thoughts raced through his mind, as he stopped at the stop sign and watched her turn into a driveway, saw another woman come out and take the little girl. One part of his mixed up mind felt relief. Although he hadn’t been aware, but part of him had been stunned to see that she had a child. Through his rehabilitation and mind retraining, he hadn’t imagined that she would have had any children. Seeing her with a little girl had started the confusion and the racing thoughts.

     Throughout the years, he had never seen her as someone who would get better and have a family. He certainly couldn’t, even though at some point in his life he hoped he could. But after what had happened to her, what he did to her…with her scars and matted sections of her hair that she covered beautifully, he never thought that she would be able to move on. He felt bound to her by contrition, and it had never entered his thoughts that she would not be bound to him. It wasn’t a control issue, he reassured himself. He had just never thought of her being anything but a parallel to his world.

     But now, seeing how the other woman took the little girl, he realized that she was not her daughter. Part of his thinking was that it was all right. But his heart sank. He could still be her protector and not her pursuer. This was an instant reminder of the amends he needed to make. If he ever did anything that would even be perceived as threatening, he would lose her forever.

     Yet, as he watched her enter her house, he made a mental note of the car parked in the driveway, just in case it was hers.

     He pulled through the stop sign, drove down a few streets and turned around. But instead of driving further, he pulled up against the curb, under the dark protection of the trees, put the gear in park and began to sob. Hard. All the pent up emotions, all the times he went to the meetings where she would monitor questions; every time he did not tell his sponsor or therapist that SHE was in this very room every month came out in each horrible sob.

     He just didn’t know what to do.

    He had spent years learning how to control his behavior, working hard to change, helping his mother whenever she needed him.  He did everything he had to do to try to be “normal” so that one day, he too might be able to find someone, anyone to love and love him back. He wanted a family.

     But he knew he was nowhere near ready for that. The ghost of his father, the memories of what he had done to Katie Crawford, would continue to haunt him if he let them. Why couldn’t he be normal? Why couldn’t he have feelings towards someone and want to be their protector?

   Why was he so troubled when he felt that she had moved on, when he should have been happy for her? Why was he still so possessed by the needs of being near her?

     His mind raced into a past he never wanted to revisit. When did it all start? How had he become this person? He knew without a doubt that it would end someday. It had to.

     But more frightening than anything else, he was worried about how it would end.

 

     At some point, sitting in the car, he realized he had become a blubbering mess. He reached for an old work shirt to wipe up his face as a flashlight shone through the window. He looked up and saw a man in a flannel shirt standing behind the car.

     “Sir, can I help you?”

     Wiping his face, Jimmy squinted into the bright light and said, “I’m sorry. I just put down my dog. He was my best friend.” The lie came out so easily, just like it used to years ago.

     “Are you okay to drive? We can talk a few minutes if it will help.”

     “No, no…I’ll be fine. My wife says I’m way too attached to that dog anyway.”

     “Hey, I understand. A pet is like family.” The man lowered his flashlight but kept the emergency cell phone in his hand. He had on the familiar blue vest of the “Neighborhood Watch” team. Another man was approaching, and Jimmy knew he had to get out of there quickly.

     “What was your dog’s name?”

     “Dorothy.” He managed a little smile when he gave the name of his mother, whom he loved. “I know it’ a silly name, but she was just like Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz.” Strong, likable…” He was rambling so he just stopped.

     “That’s a good name for a dog. I’m sorry for your loss. Take care and have a better night.”

     “Thank you, sir.” Jimmy offered his hand and then pulled it back, realizing he still had the sticky shirt in that hand. “Thank you for your kind words.”

     “No problem. You have a good night, sir. Drive carefully.”

     Nodding, Jimmy rolled up the window and slowly pulled away. All rambled thoughts had disappeared instantly when the man had spoken. He drove slowly down the street, through the street sign, making every effort to not look towards that house where Katie Crawford went. He sighed, relieved that the turbulence in his head was calming down.

     He looked in the rearview mirror, and hoped to see the two men walking along the sidewalk, protecting their community. What he saw was the first man speaking into the emergency cell and the other man writing something down in an open pad.

   

He pushed down the fear and realized that in all this turmoil, he knew there was one thing he could do. Now that he was calmer, he had a moment of clarity. It was choice time. If he truly wanted to change, and he did, he needed to make a phone call. He reached for the phone and pressed a number to dial his therapist first. He knew he should be the first one to tell and even though he didn’t WANT to, he knew he had to make this call if he were ever to get better. He wanted so much to get Katie Crawford out of his head and his heart. He wanted so much to have normal feelings, friendship feelings for her, or no feelings whatsoever.

     He hoped that maybe his therapist would not answer. But prayed that he would. After several rings, he started to hang up, but he held on for one more ring.

     When a voice answered, he merely said, “Frank, I need help. I need to tell you something.”

     They agreed to meet at Frank’s house which was just past a small group of apartment homes that had just opened for leasing. A fleeting thought made Jimmy feel normal. He wondered if one day, he would be able to move out from the comfort and the safety of his mother’s house, and live by himself. He knew he would like that.

     But with that decision would also come tremendous changes and abilities and efforts that he wasn’t sure he would ever have.

     “One day at a time,” was his motto. He had to believe that. He had lived that for a very long time. If he thought of the future-next year, next week, or even tomorrow….he knew he would not be able to handle the immense pressure his thoughts would place on him. He knew he wasn’t ready. Not yet.

     With that thought, he knew he could hope, that one day he might live in a place where the trees danced over the water which sprang form a fountain that welcomed new visitors to a place close to Heaven.

     Tears swelled in his eyes as he passed the new apartment homes with their families and their friends and their lives so intact. The thoughts, the hopes, instantly vanished as the phone rang. He saw Frank standing at the corner of the street where the gated community of apartment homes gently rolled into a community with cast iron lampposts and sprinkler systems than came on after dusk.

     He pulled up into the driveway and got out. Shaking Frank’s hand, he welcomed the comforting arm that embraced his shoulders. When he stepped inside the house, and smelled the fresh coffee brewing in the kitchen, all thoughts of Katie Crawford disappeared. For now, having made the right choice to tell Frank everything over the past few months, he felt safe. In Frank’s house, as he did in his Mother’s house, he felt at home.

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