A new year, a new resolution, actually the same resolution I'd made last year and, the year before that and, the year before that. See I was obsessive/compulsive. Things had to be in their place, had to be sized just right, had to be equal numbers, straight, they could be up or down, side by side or even across, they had to be in order and straight. On my wall if I hung a picture, I could not hang one, it had to be two, four, six, get it? and, they all had to be the same size, they all had to be lined up perfectly, nothing could be off kilter.
I'd driven my parents crazy, if they put pictures or even toys in my room, they had to be in order. Dolls with dolls, stuffed animals with stuffed animals and then, it had to be the same species (sigh). My parents didn't know how tiring it was for me. But, we all dealt with it and and we became accustomed to the constant straightening and nail biting it all entailed.
My adult life was the same. I'd been living on my own since I was 18, I was now 25. I still lived in the same city, on the same street, in the same apartment. I.ve had the same routine for those seven years.
My friends teased me, I didn't care, as long as they didn't touch anything. But, this year, things are going to be different, I was going to break my routine, I was going to do things a little differently and, I started with my plant porch. Of course the plants almost died, I just couldn't bring myself to go out there and see things that weren't in order.
Well, today was going to be different. I didn't leave work exactly at five, I waited until ten after. I didn't go to the bus stop right away, I peeped in a couple of windows. I didn't stop by the store to pick up my usual, I stopped at IHOP and had breakfast, for dinner.
I was feeling a little apprehensive but, great all the same.. Until I turned on my street. There were lights, sirens, police, yellow tape. A crowd huddled around the gate of my apartment building. I walked up and looked around.. there on a gurney was a body.. I tapped one officer on the shoulder and asked what had happened.. He told me a woman had been killed in one of the apartments, I told him I lived here, he stared at me for a moment and asked which apartment I lived in. I told him and he promptly sent me to speak with one of the detectives on scene.
Something I'd done all my life kept things in order, my parents had worried about me, my friends said I should get help, (psychiatric) help. I had the best help in the world.
The woman, my friend, had been murdered by a serial killer, in my apartment. She had a key, just as I'd had one to her apartment.