The Divining Wand

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Guest Anna Fields on “The Murderer’s Brother”

February 22, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts

[Anna Fields, in her debut memoir, Confessions of a Rebel Debutante, writes of being strong, not following the crowd, and becoming who you really are. In today’s guest post the author shares a fictional piece — based on a novel she’s currently writing — with the hope it might comfort and help those women who have experienced physical/verbal/domestic abuse.]

The Murderer’s Brother
By Anna Fields

Jenny Thompson was murdered in her driveway. Her husband, Eric, had been drinking all afternoon before loading his gun and shooting her more than a dozen times–first in the back, as she tried to run away, then in the head when she wasn’t fast enough. His motive: He thought she was cheating on him. She wasn’t. Jenny, a 29-year-old homemaker living in the suburbs of Bridgewater, Connecticut, and I had become friends over the past year. Her husband was the brother of my boyfriend, Michael. But suddenly, on that April afternoon in 2008, Jenny was dead, lying facedown in her own blood. When I heard the news, I thought: That could’ve been me.

I first met Michael in college at Brown University in 1999. We shared a few classes and quickly became friends. Seven years later, we both wound up in graduate school at New York University, and we started dating. Michael, a stocky, powerfully built guy, seemed chivalrous and sweet. He was also smart and funny, and knew how to make me laugh – even at myself. He’d grown up in a modest blue-collar family, playing football, working alongside his older brother, Eric, in their father’s machine shop. Michael idolized Eric. Born only two years apart, they looked like twins. They shared certain other traits too, like extreme possessiveness. But I didn’t know that then.

Every day, I’d meet Michael between classes for lunch at a local sports bar. I noticed that he drank a lot–usually two cocktails at lunch–but then, everyone in grad school did. After about three months, I moved in with him in his bachelor-pad apartment. Mostly we wanted to save money on rent, but also I felt comfortable with him; we had a real connection and a shared college experience. His stories about people we both knew and professor we both remembered convinced me that we could have a future together.

Things changed quickly after we started living together. Michael became very interested in knowing where I was at all times. Whenever we were apart, he’d call me repeatedly to “check in.” If I didn’t answer my cell phone, even in the middle of class, he would become upset. Yes, I knew his behavior was possessive, but at the same time, part of me enjoyed the attention; I saw it as a sign of his devotion. So I dutifully answered his calls, and apologized when I couldn’t. (more…)