Since I am nearing the end of my days and my sanity is steadily slipping, I will admit to something that I have denied my entire life: I killed my college roommate Tripp and his girlfriend, Amy, when I was twenty-four. And I did it by doing what I do best: writing.
Amy was an accident. I had no way of knowing writing a scathing letter to her and mailing it to Mr. Ganf (an imaginary friend forced into retirement) would result in her disappearance. Tripp, on the other had, was completely deliberate. I wasn’t certain he would disappear as his girlfriend did when I fed the envelope to the mailbox, but I hoped he would. And, sure enough, he did.
To say I wasn’t pleased would be lying. I felt some guilt at first, but it was trifling, something akin to a fly trapped in a lampshade that futilely flaps its wings every once and while. It eventually vanished altogether.
Tripp and Amy didn’t deserve to die, which is partly why I kept this secret for the entirety of my life. I was once afraid of appearing as a monster to anybody I would tell, but I now realize a monster is exactly what I am, and denying won’t make it untrue.
Amy, as I said before, was an accident. Having not liked her in the first place (for no good reason, I’ll freely admit), I let a particularly rotten encounter with she and Tripp boil over until I had to excuse myself. When I returned to my apartment that night, I wrote a particularly scornful letter to her, never with the intention of actually giving it to her. In it, I used my pen as a dagger, writing things that would result in her death if implemented. This, I rationalized, was my catharsis.
I had originally intended to burn the note once I finished it, but was so proud of my composition of thoughts and feelings that I found it impossible to dispose of. Unsure of what to do with it, I carefully folded it and slid it into an envelope. Bored and absentminded, I wrote “Mr. Ganf” on the front of the envelope. I found this mildly amusing at the time and put a stamp on it. Then, to complete the joke, I dropped it in the nearest mailbox.
Amy was reported missing two days later. Tripp told me what her mother told him, which was that Amy’s roommate said she never returned from her morning class. The professor who taught the class said she wasn’t present on the morning in question, and that it was the first time he marked her absent that semester.
I felt a strange concoction of emotions regarding Amy’s disappearance. I felt a tinge of sympathy for Tripp and how afraid for her he was, but I experienced a sense of delight, as well. Deep down, a part of me knew she was gone forever, and celebrated the fact that I would never have to deal with her ever again. It didn’t take long, however, for me to connect my letter to Mr. Ganf with Amy’s disappearance. The part of me that was so certain she was gone was equally sure that it was Mr. Ganf that had removed Amy from my life.
For a little while, I was certain I had gone mad. Was it possible that Amy had gone missing because of a letter I mailed to a nonexistent person? During this time, Tripp hardly existed to me. It wasn’t until after he, too, disappeared that I realized he was absent for much of that time. This makes sense to me, in retrospect, since he seemed to, quite suddenly, become more maddening than ever about a week later. What few housekeeping habits he had before were abandoned. I have vivid memories of coming home to an apartment choked with the acrid stench of body odor and rotten food. Since the majority of my time was devoted to homework and studying, dirty dishes were hardly ever given attention. (We didn’t have a dishwasher.) I began tallying every, little thing he did that irritated me, and decided I would mail another letter to Mr. Ganf after I drew the hundredth mark.
I am almost ashamed to say so, but it didn’t take long for the tallying to become fun. Everyday, after school, I rushed home to be with Tripp just so I could add more tallies to the list. I even began skipping my last class of the day to get home earlier. It took me a week to seal Tripp’s fate.
The note I wrote to Tripp was considerably longer. (Five pages longer, if you must know.) I elaborated on all one hundred tally marks I made against him. (After all these years, I only remember the hundredth one, which was finding his toenail clippings on my living room carpet.) I typed it up on my laptop after I finished writing it to make it more formal, then printed it out on some fancy paper my grandparents gave me as a going-away-to-college gift. I even savored the taste of the bitter material on the back of the envelope after I loaded the letter into it.
The walk to the mailbox was one of the best walks I’ve ever had in my life. The stars sparkled in the night sky, singing a silent chorus of jubilation to accompany my steps along the sidewalk. The air was still and clear, free of the usual city musk. Putting the letter in the mailbox was every bit as gratifying as I hoped it would be. My only regret was that I couldn’t do it again.
I wasn’t surprised when Tripp stopped coming home. The following days were like breathing fresh air through new lungs. I tidied up the apartment, fixing everything the way I wanted it. I put most of Tripp’s things into boxes and piled them on his bed. I kept what few items of his that I wanted.
The ramifications of Tripp’s disappearance didn’t effect me until about two weeks later, when the police pulled me out of class to question me. Though they never said I was a suspect, it was quite clear to me that I was being investigated. Of course, there was no evidence suggesting I was involved with either Amy’s or Tripp’s disappearance, so I was left alone. I was certain, however, that their eye was still fixed on me, so I decided not to mail any more letters to Mr. Ganf. And, to this day, I haven’t.
I’m confessing because I’m afraid. Maybe by telling the truth, I can set things right with whoever or whatever will decide my fate. I don’t know what will happen to me after I die, whether I’ll be judged by God or simply rot in the ground. Frankly, neither one of those sounds bad to me. I just hope Mr. Ganf won’t be there, waiting to take me away.