Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's been three years since Kathryn Faughey was brutally murdered and she is still all around me.

I had to hear about it on the local New York City 5 o'clock news as I crafted bookcases in my dining room. The board I dropped was on the floor for days.

The story broke with her name and I ran to my kitchen bulletin board where I had thumbtacked Kathryn's handwritten note listing her address. The summer before during Martinfest, Kathryn had offered to be a reader of my manuscript and I had sent it to her a few weeks later.

The address was the same.

By six o'clock they had a photo of her, the pavilion in the background, the beginning of the unbearably endless local broadcasts of her face staring out from the TV.

I'm writing here in that room, surrounded by those bookshelves. I remember which board I was cutting that day. My manuscript is on the next shelf where I placed it when I got it back. Kathryn's note is still on my bulletin board.

Besides her comments on my manuscript, a memoir of domestic violence, shortly after finishing the book she expressed in an email her initial reaction:

As I was reading it, I was so sorry this was happening to YOU! Amazing how the distance of the unknown author (in theory - I may read a memoir, seen the person on Booknotes, etc. - but never really KNOWN them) - well, how that distance can help handle whatever I may read. Here, the violence and cruelty and morass of being stuck in an impasse with bureaucracy is additionally difficult in that I know you. Amazing how you have triumphed over it all. (I was really touched by the scene when they audition you for voice class.) Incredible also that I was holding a manuscript that this young woman managed eventually to write. What a testament to you!

That's the thing, she knew I got out alive. It was a triumph because the odds were against me. What were the odds for the most gentle soul I have ever had the privilege of knowing? It is still so incomprehensible.

The violence and cruelty of this senseless act makes it forever impossible to process because I knew her.

Kathryn, I am so sorry this happened to YOU!

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