My hands flew to my mouth. Others were equally speechless. While some mourners escorted Gates to the patio, no one else acknowledged the young man, now creeping down the lawn, his parents holding him up on either side, back toward Lake Anza Road where they had apparently parked. No one, that is, besides my photographer who had come around a tree mid way down the lawn and, as I would learn later, fired off her motor drive throughout the entire episode. Head down at an angle to accommodate her good eye and engrossed in the view-finder of the digital camera, she hiked toward the road nearly smacking into an old oak on her way.
Friends diverted Gates to a bench, the one nearest the statue of Major Tilden smiling like a big stone idiot in the center of the patio. With a hankie pressed to his bloodied nose, Gates now appeared as dazed as he did in his kitchen. The world would be blurring for me too. I certainly didn’t expect him to identify me out of the dozens of mourners there to honor Amy.
So what happened next surprised me. Just as someone ordered a server to get some ice and another hollered for a blanket, Gates lifted his head with his icy blue eyes now fully dilated and said in the coldest of tones, “You want to be a reporter again? Then nab my wife’s killer. If I’m not mistaken, he’s probably back in his car by now. You can probably catch him before he drives out of the park.”
Copyright: Laura Novak, 2012