I'm really sorry about yesterday's post. I wanted to give you guys an update, but I was still very upset.
Search parties found Rose's car in a ditch near Rt. 165. It was empty, but it was also completely torn apart. The mirrors were shattered, the airbags deployed and ripped open, the seats cut to hell and back. The lining hung from the ceiling in tatters. But Rose was nowhere to be found.
The thing that really stumped the officials was that there was no evidence that the car crashed there. For all the damage, the body of the vehicle itself was fine, and there weren't even any tracks leading to the place it came to rest. It just appeared there.
I drove there after work (Rose's mother, who sounded just as torn up as the car, called me) and tried to get a closer look, but the police wouldn't let me. Evidence and all that.
So, at the end of the day, I ended up just like I was before -- only this time it was with the knowledge that she's really gone, and I was completely helpless to do anything. I called Violet, and then Allie (one of the fanstastic friends I mentioned in a previous post) saw my last blog post and came over. She was able to talk me down a little.
After Allie left, I went for a long drive. I thought about going to a lot of places -- it wasn't late yet -- but I found myself instead at St. Ignatius Church. I suppose I'm just like my mom: a reluctant Catholic. I went inside the chapel, found a likely pew, and sat for a long while, staring up at the Virgin Mary and wondering what happened to the other three lost souls who were in there at the same time I was on a Saturday night. I whispered a Hail Mary under my breath. Then another. And another.
Eventually the others left, and it was just me. One of the priests, Father Kelly, was doing something or other at the altar when he saw me, and he came over and sat down next to me. He's younger than your average preacher, and handsome enough to have probably had a dozen girls on his tail before taking the cloth. He came to our church just before I had my Confirmation.
We sat for a long while in silence. That's the thing about priests: outside of confession, they'll never ask you what's wrong. But you tell them anyway because they're there. I wondered if he even remembered me, the little girl who came around four years ago and then disappeared from church to handle her rebellious phase. I wondered what he thought I was here for. My hair was tangled, my eyes red and puffy. I probably looked like a drug addict.
"We haven't seen you here in some time," he said. So he did remember me.Oh, Catholic guilt, how nice to see you. It's been so long.
"Yeah," was all I could say.
There was more silence. He said, "You're always welcome in the House of God, Celeste. But are you going to tell me why you've come?"
"It's because..." I began. My voice trailed off.
What was I doing here? Did I think Mary was going to come down from Heaven and tell me what to do next? Did I think Sancuary would save me, that prayer would save my friends from a thing that had no use for a God? Or did I think it would save me from my own shame?
But I knew exactly why I was there.
"Father...I'm so lost even God can't find me."
My throat suddenly felt that familiar burn. I forced it back; the last thing I needed to do right now was cry in my self-pity. I'll allow myself to cry for Rose...but I won't cry for me. I have better things to do.
"I wouldn't say that's true," he said. "For the faithful, God is always close by."
"I don't know if I have any faith left."
He smiled. "Of all the places you could go tonight, you came here. Why?"
It was a rhetorical question, and it achieved its desired effect; I did feel a little better as I thanked him for his advice and left the church.
When I got home, I called Violet again, and we talked for a good long while. I didn't think I'd get any sleep, but I did. I'm actually feeling a lot better today, and I'm more focused than I was yesterday. All my energy is going toward helping Violet. I haven't seen him once since the incident; this isn't about me.
Today, I've been thinking more about this than ever. Violet says she and Riley have been experimenting with techniques to fend him off, but she didn't go into any detail. I'm off work tomorrow and Tuesday, so I'll be driving down to see her and talking to her about it then.