Steve was beside himself. He had always thought that Laurie was not a good enough parent and worried incessantly when Julia was in her care. Her being hit by a car and killed was a fear come true. Steve was a born again Christian and knew that Julia was with the Lord now, having been called home, maybe too early, but that God knows what He is doing is a cornerstone of Steve’s faith now that he has quit drinking and was saved two years ago just after his divorce from Laurie.
Now that Steve was sober he had been called OCD by a lot of people but none more rancorously than by Laurie. Laurie was upset when he was drinking and seemed just as upset, if not more, now that he was sober. She complained that he had become critical, domineering, overbearing, distrustful to the point of paranoia, and he seemed most obsessed with her care of Julia often implying if not outright accusing her for being a bad mother. Her girlfriend, Amanda, said, “There is no one more judgmental than an abstinent smoker or drinker. They seem to think they know it all and what’s best for everyone else. If they don’t go to AA they are even worse. Even in AA they tell people to take their own inventory, don’t be taking everyone else’s.”
Amanda had started going to the UU church with Laurie and Julia even though she had been raised Jewish and had become more Buddhist as an adult than anything else. “Do Buddhists believe in God?” Laurie had asked Amanda, and Amanda had said “No.” They believe in cosmic consciousness, enlightenment, but not in a personal God.
“Do Buddhists pray?” Laurie had wanted to know.
“Not in the Christian sense,” said Amanda. “They meditate and try to clear their minds of all thoughts. Just to be still and become one with the flow of life, one with the all.”
Laurie didn’t know what Amanda was talking about. She had never tried to meditate herself. Now, with the horror of Julia’s death, Laurie just wished she could black out. Block everything out. She couldn’t even sleep. She was too upset. She wished she could talk to Amanda who had flown to California to visit her sister. Laurie didn’t even think Amanda knew yet of Julia’s death. Who would tell her? Should she call?
Someone was knocking on the door. She found it hard to rise from the chair and go to the door. She could see two policeman through the little rectangular window in the door, a man and a woman.
“Hello, Mrs. Andrews. I’m officer Harvey, and this is officer Bradshaw. We have a few questions we’d like to ask you. Can we come in?”