What A Killer Taught Me

We were living in a nice location closer to the University so my roomies wouldn’t have a problem commuting. I was working already and had just purchased my first car, so traveling to work was not a problem. Also, I always wanted to live closer to my host parents and most greedily didn’t know how to survive without the amazing food that my host mom dropped off for me! If you’ve not experienced Italian love, you can never understand how food plays a vital role in any relationship.

Any visitor we had was vetted with them informally because of some unpleasant situations I had encountered during my student days. One such was when an ‘uncle’ who promised to give me a creative break in a local newspaper landed at our door at midnight to ‘take me out’ for ‘brainstorming ideas’. Much to his annoyance, none of us were dumb enough to entertain him or his offer. My host dad turned him away and since began my vocation to trust no one!

That discipline was so immutable that I barely let my guard down. Perhaps that’s the reason why I might be terrifically in love with my current profession where learning never ceases. Meanwhile, my biological father who couldn’t be in the United States continued to teach me the guise of words so I can go undetected with my indifference towards unfamiliar persons. But, this was one of the few instances when all of us, my host parents, my roomies and I were all collectively wrong.

They were the sweetest and kindest person we’d befriend. And they really took a liking to one of my roomies but not in a romantic way. So they’d visit us every weekend and spend a lot of time in our house. This went on for about 8 months before they suddenly stopped coming. My roommate’s phone calls and voicemails were unreturned and they literally disappeared. A month later, my host mom summoned me to their home. And my host mom never ‘summoned’. I knew something was not right.

When I went over she was holding a cutout of a newspaper. As soon as I stepped into the threshold, she hugged me so tight that I thought my bones would break. She said, “Oh Marissa, I’m so glad you are safe.” And burst out laughing right after as soon as she realized she mixed up my name with her cat’s. That mix-up happened quite often. Even to the point that she’d call for the cat to come home by yelling my name. We sat down and what she told next blew the smithereens off my brain.

The disappeared visitor was locked up for chasing down their partner, wounding several who tried to intervene and ultimately killing the partner in a very brutal manner. At that moment, my host mom and I realized how fortunate my roomies and I were for having evaded the worst in our lives. It could’ve happened to us or not. But it was a huge lesson learned to bear the highest caution when letting people in our homes and hearts. Since, even when people ask me in jest, “Don’t you trust me?”, I smile and say, “I don’t.”

Published by Quotidian Blessing

InfoSec Director|WIT Mentor-Protege Vice Chair|ATA Convention Women's Forum Chair|Published Poet

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