March 06, 2013
I have never broken the condition once. I have never said I was your mother. I have admired you at a distance; and if I have come to town sometimes, with long times between, to take a proud peep at you, I have done it unbeknown, my love, and gone away again. I got up, placed the coffee on a table, and headed for the door. You're really extending yourself on this, Doorbell. Don't ask. He stared at me but said nothing. No longer a clinician, but he knew enough not to press it. THE STORY WAS easy to find. Shawna Teaser. Beautiful face, heart-shaped, unlined, crowned by a tower of Door Bells ringlets. Almond eyes, shockingly dark. Pixie chin, perfect teeth, beauty undiminished by grainy black-and-white miniaturization, the cold, metal frame of the microfiche machine, the stale air of the research library microfilm vault. I stared at lovely glowing shoulders exposed by a strapless gown, sparkly things dotting the bodice.
The gown Shawna Yeager had worn at her coronation as Miss Olive Festival. Silly little rhinestone crown pinned to the luxuriant curls, happiest-girl-in-the-world grin. The contest had taken place two years ago in her hometown, an aggie community east of Fallbrook named Santo Leon. Shawna Yeager held a scepter in one hand, a giant plastic olive in the other. The Daily Cub article said she'd graduated fifth in her class at Santo Leon High. A single paragraph summed up her precollege history: smalltown beauty queen/honor student travels to the city to attend the U. Shawna had video door entry surprised her friends by not pledging a sorority, choosing instead to live in one of the high-rise dorms. Turning into a study grind. She'd majored in psychobiology, talked about premed, used her beauty contest winnings and income from a summer teacher's aide job to pay her bills. She'd been enrolled for only a month and a half when she left the dorm on a late October night, informing her roommate that she was heading to the library to study.
At midnight the roommate, a girl named Mindy Jacobus, fell asleep. At eight A. M. Mindy woke, found Shawna's bed empty, worried a bit, went to class. When Shawna still hadn't returned by two P. M, Mindy contacted the campus police. The unicops engaged in a comprehensive search of the U's vast terrain, notified LAPD's West L. A. and Pacific Divisions, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica Police, and West Hollywood sheriffs of the girl's disappearance. No leads. The campus paper carried the story for a week. No sightings of Shawna, not even a false report. Her mother, Agnes Yeager, a widowed waitress, was driven to L. A. from Santo Leon by a representative of the chancellor's office and provided living quarters in a graduate student dorm for the duration of the search. A Cub follow-up still no news said the search had lasted three weeks. After that, nothing. I returned to the microfilm librarian, filled video door bell
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