Tom and I have known Linda for nearly as long as we have lived in Harmony. She regularly baby-sat my boys, and often I used to just stay in the house with her and get baby-sat too. I was lonely, a new mother in a new town, and Linda became my support and my dear friend. Her daughter Amy and I got pregnant at about the same time: Paul was my second child, Coty was Amy's first and Linda's first grandchild. His sister Monica was born the following year. It was an exciting flurry: all those babies together. I was learning to be a citizen of this town, learning to be a mother; and meanwhile, Paul and Monica and James and Coty squirreled around on the kitchen floor together.
Coty would have graduated from 8th grade this week. But now he is dead; now Monica is dead; now Amy is dead; now Steven, who used to fix my kitchen stove when it was broken, is dead. Linda is bereft, unimaginably bereft. She has led the best, the purest life one could imagine, but it has not spared her from horror.
Yesterday I and hundreds of other friends and acquaintances and strangers hoped so hard, so hard, all day long, that Steven would find a way to walk away, to save their lives, to save his. He did not.