Chapter Twenty-One: Fermentation

Would it surprise you very much at all if I told you that Rachel didn't write after that?

It was remarkable—how everything fell into place, I mean. We jumped into his mother's car and sped all the way until we got phone reception, and then we called the police. It took them a while, but they came, and they found Bridgette, who was very much alive, and they found the grim remains of her strange, uncouth hobby. They didn't ask very many questions at first, but it soon came to the point when I had to admit everything that had happened.

It was a bizarre story—the type you told when you were too tired to make much sense. They didn't believe me. My mother didn't believe me. Then I pulled out the letters, and everyone believed me. It's amazing how easily people can doubt one another until they figure the burden of providing enough evidence has been met. Everyone told me how sorry they were. Not because they recognized that they were incorrect in thinking that I was insane but because I had been forced to endure something "painful".

The only thing that was actually painful about it was that my mother had to know that I knew she wasn't my mother by birth. I can remember that moment so well, and I doubt think I'll ever forget it.

I told her that, even though I may have been linked to a homicidal maniac by blood, I was linked to a wonderfully caring woman by family. I told her that I never once considered Bridgette to be my mother, that I had remained in denial to the very end, that, even when all of the proof was before me, I didn't think of her as my mother but as some monstrous burden.

"You're my family."

It was scary, too. By "scary" I mean that everything changed after that. I no longer received the look of the girl who lost her family but the girl who was adopted—the girl whose real family was made up of a bunch of incestuous killers.

But, hey. It could have been worse.

I wish I could tell you that there was some sort of happy ending. I mean, it seems like there ought to be, mostly because so much happened in such a small, concentrated expanse of time. Or did? I suppose the story actually started fifteen years ago. And, when you take into consideration that I'm only that old, that actually is a long, long time.

I suppose I should I say that I made it back to society without a hitch—that the whole world welcomed me with love and adoration. The simple truth is that the world doesn't quite work that way. It's not so much that the world is out to get me—it's just that there are so many people in the world, and, if it were to go just as everyone wanted, then it would probably explode in some cosmic incident of impossibility.

A sort of compliance overload or something.

I found myself hating Bridgette, you see, for how she looked at the world. She wanted to make up for what she did wrong in her life (which is fine), but she wanted to do that by hiding away and avoiding the punishment for her crimes (which isn't fine). She was willing to live in misery, but she wasn't willing to live by the rules of society. That was because she thought society was the one to blame for her crime to begin with, and that's where the whole problem started.

She wasn't willing to wake up and see that she had done wrong.

I wish I could also tell you that I've managed to recover entirely, but there's still this awful, dark side of me that wants to take over most of the time. It's like I've somehow opened up a door to a part of me that wants nothing to do with happening, nothing to do with normal life. I've become a wreck, somehow, and I don't think I'll ever recover.

How could I?

Just like that, a few letters and a single car crash broke down my idea of the world—my perception of reality.

Throughout all of it, there was just one person beside me, and even that one person isn't sure what to make of the matter. He had his arm cut up by an insane woman, and it was all because he decided to drive me all the way out there just because I wanted to settle things.

There is no way to settle stuff like that. I mean, I can tell myself that I feel more at ease for it, but I really don't. I'm still this scared, sad, little girl with no map and a big world all around her. I know who I am, but I don't. I know where I am, but I don't.

And yet, upon evaluation, I don't think I would have changed anything. Nothing about it made me happy, but it changed me. Maybe change isn't a bad thing.

The world, as you know, spins and spins regardless of what happens on it. Be it the troubles of one person or the troubles of a billion, the world is blind to what happens upon its surface. We could all get mixed up in the craziest of things, and, still, the world would turn. That might not seem very well connected to what I've been saying, but, to be frank, I'm trying to say that the world really has nothing to do with my troubles.

The world had nothing to do with Bridgette's troubles, either.

I was not boneless, and everything that happened to me affect me in one way or another. I could not merely slide through a window too small, absorb everything and make my bones into jelly. I was solid, rigid, real and reinforced. I am not immune to my troubles.

I wonder if I could still wish for that—to be like my cat, who was so absent throughout my problems. She was just one little spec of life on the rest of the world, but, then again, so was I. It's confusing, but it also makes a lot of sense.

It just depends on how you look at it.