I’ve spent most of the past weekend getting acquainted with Odessa’s older sister, Olivia. The following is her account of the day she got out of prison on November 27th, 1985. The day before Thanksgiving and a little over three months after Odessa’s death.
My hands shook so bad I dropped the keys three times before I was finally able to push open the door. A coed friend of Carmella’s family had been staying here, housesitting while going to school at State. She wasn’t there now having gone home for Thanksgiving break. It was so quiet I could hear the clock ticking over the mantle in the living room, or maybe it was my pounding heart.
The last time I’d been here my sister was still alive and none of us knew that Amalie was pregnant. At least I hope that Dess hadn’t known. If I’d stayed a few more nights I think Amalie would have confided in me. If I hadn’t of been looked up Amalie and her baby would still be here with me. I would have made sure my niece had been taken care of. Why hadn’t Dess taken her to see a doctor?
A part of my sister had died back in January when she lost Graham. She hadn’t wanted to keep on living without him and she’d gotten her wish.
I eased open the door to Dess’s room. Her queen sized bed was gone, replaced by a neatly made full sized bed . Everything was so sterile and everything was so perfectly arranged that if was as if Dess had just gone back to Tampa. I closed the door and went to the room that until January had been mine since Dess had first gotten the house in 1961. The room I’d turned over to Amalie when they moved back her and I went to stay at the apartment with Jose. Tears welled up in my eyes when I saw that our house sitter had taken all my clothes out of the trash bags where we’d hastily stashed everything in such a rush to get out of that apartment. Those were the clothes of a stranger.
I’d gotten more involved with the dealing because I didn’t want to be a burden to them. I wanted to have something on my own. Who would have known that it would cost me everything?
You’d think the house will feel haunted, knowing my sister had died right there in her room. All it felt was empty. Dess had gotten what she’d wanted. Her out to go be with her Beloved. I should have been there. If not for Dess, at least for Amalie. Headstones. I needed to go buy the headstones for their graves.
That lawyer had made the arrangements for me. I didn’t trust him much. Roger had gotten Dess to hire him to deal with her life after Graham. Much like Roger, I didn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. I’d traded Dess’s Mercedes for that lawyer to get me out of there. How much was an 18 year old Mercedes worth anyway? As far as I was concerned my freedom was priceless.
I went through the motions of taking a bath and pouring a glass of wine before I sat down at the kitchen table with a stack of bills. Knowing Dess, I was sure the checking account would be a mess, so I put the bank statements aside and sorted through the stack of mail. Dess, knowing she didn’t want to live, had left everything to me right down to putting both our names on the checking account.
Now there was no picking up the phone and calling Dess in Tampa. In less than a month I would be 48 years old and for the first time in my life I was totally and completely alone in this world.
After downing the bottle of wine, I took a deep breath and finally tore open the latest bank statement. My eyes widened when I saw the balance, $743 and then three more numbers before the period.
What the fuck!?!
Two days before Amalie’s death there was a deposit for $740,000.
Blood money… my wine glass shattered to the cold floor.