I ripped the note off the door and called Mr. Collins. I was furious! How did the person know where we lived? How did he know about Mahala? “Any more information, Jenna?”
“H-he left us a note! He knows where we live, and I don’t think he’s through with Tristan…!” My voice became higher and more rushed, and the anxiety was seeping through the telephone.
He gently told me to calm down and explain in a way that he’d understand. I hated when people told me to calm down, but there was merit in his words.
I inhaled and exhaled repeatedly, massaging my chest so that it’d stop tightening. Then, slowly but surely, I told him everything.
I never wanted to hurt you, but it’s your fault. It’s your fault for supporting those sons and daughters of infidels. They killed our people! our families! My mother! And you still supported them. You’ve gone to the dark side, Tristan.
“Okay, I’m putting that in. Do you know who that could be?”
I looked at Tristan, be he just looked at me blankly. I sighed and told the Detective no.
“Wait…” Tristan said, his forehead creased in worry, “There was Ethan… He was a guy I knew during college… but he was a pretty nice guy, I swear.”
“Death does it to us all, Tristan, death does it to us all,” Detective Collins sighed. Man, Detective Collin’s probably been through a lot to say that. “Okay, so Ethan is the assailant?” I asked, needing an answer.
“Probably. I mean, can you tell me what’s on the letter. Word by word?” I happily did so and he listened through all of it.
“Okay, we’ll try to find him. This is almost over, just sit tight. Thank you, Jenna and thank you, Tristan.” I hung up and opened my door, which I had not done so yet. I walked in and Tristan decided to talk. “Do you know about those notes I had left you?” Tristan asked.
“Yeah, why?” I asked, remembering those worrying, depressing pieces of paper.
“Well, I put those there whenever I went to a protest…” Tristan’s voice trailed off and I sighed. I kept my anger inside and just asked, “Why didn’t you tell me you were going? I wouldn’t have stopped you. Either way, you’re older than me.”
“Well, I thought you would stop me. I didn’t want you to stop me, that’s why. The thing is, almost all of those were against Muslims and I was one of the few to actually be supporting the Muslims.”
I sighed slowly as I tried to take all of this in. He didn’t tell me and worried me all those times, but now it finally made sense… I couldn’t reasonably be upset with him. “Well… I won’t stop you, so tell me before you go to a protest.” He nodded and looked relieved.
I went to the fridge and got out a piece of bread and a tomato. I started to cut up the tomato and started making some bruschetta. I salted the tomatoes and put them in a strainer to get rid of the water. I waited ten minutes of silence and then put the tomatoes on the bread and put cheese on top. I started eating and did so in silence. I decided that this would be a good time to start working on my resume and try to get at least an interview, so I started. I opened the computer and I typed in my password. I got onto Microsoft Word and I started typing up information about me, my Bachelor’s Degree in economics and my Master’s in Computer Engineering. About a fifth way through, Tristan said he was going to get white paint and I gave him a thumbs up. I got a lot of progress done. In fact, I almost finished! But, I got flashes of anger in lots of it where I had to punch my bed and meditate. I wanted to kill this Ethan dude. He had the nerve to break Tristan like this and even threaten us.
When Tristan came back, I was looking at jobs I could get around here and I actually got a lot of options! I was even excited to get a job in a thing I liked (not too much, but it was better than being a doctor…), so I was really pumped. But, I had to help Tristan paint the door back to white like it was before it was painted neon green. I got a big paint roller and opened the paint bucket. I started painting the door and my anger faded even more like the green on the door. I was getting calmer and calmer and I was relaxed enough to call myself a monk (well, for my family, at least.) and I painted the door even faster, a new, determined energy running through me. I was about to finish when I started to get a headache, though, and I told Tristan, “I got a headache. I’m going to sleep.” I walked into my room and threw myself onto the bed. I was really tired all of a sudden and I fell asleep.
“Hey, lunch is ready. Your favorite,” Tristan said, tapping me on the shoulder. I groggily sat on my bed and yawned again. I peered at the clock and groaned. It was already two. I threw myself off the bed and into the living room. I jumped onto the sofa, the most loved part of my house (It had a few rips because I had jumped on it so many times. Gotta fix that.) and laid down. Tristan put my hot bowl on my stomach and I cursed. I put the simple but huge bowl onto the table and gazed at the food on it. It was a chicken leg and thigh covered with a thick sauce that I didn’t know about. I was a bit surprised that the sauce was a cream color and I asked Tristan, “What is this called?”
“Chicken korma. You don’t remember it? Well, it is lighter. Last time I added too much cayenne.” I recalled the moment from a month ago and laughed. I took a sip at first and it was just spicy enough and then I started gorging it and I was on the floor at one time because it was so spicy. I got a spoon from the kitchen and started drinking the sauce like someone would drink water. I gave up halfway through and I just savagely ate the chicken and chugged the sauce. We give the world record time of eating an appetizer to Jenna Velius! She ate and drank a full chicken kurma in a 16 oz bowl in a record time at three and a half minutes!
I asked if that was it and Tristan said, “Who do you think I am? Of course not!” He brought three more dishes and a rice cooking bowl. I was baffled at all the dishes. Seared salmon with caramelized (learned that from my mom!) onions and tomato, stir fried vegetables, and braised (another thing I learned from Mom. Thanks!) beef with cauliflower and broccoli. My mouth watered just looking at the food and I stole food from Tristan. He limped over to the kitchen and got the jug of water. I helped him along and praised him for his skill and passion. I started for the food and took almost a third of the rice and I took enough of the sides to eat by themselves.
I started attacking food again, devouring each handful easily while Tristan slowly but surely ate the food he made, either savoring the food or making sure he didn’t drop it because of his unsteadiness without his left hand. I ended up finishing everything easily and took seconds. “We’re eating leftovers for dinner, you know,” Tristan told me. I stopped for a second and then gave Tristan some of what I took and started eating again. I was content with the world at that moment and I hoped it would stay that way forever, but life never works like that. I finished again in a record time of nine minutes for both servings of the rice and the sides. I sipped my water and let out a roaring burp (a good oxymoron as I say so myself), surprising Tristan a bit too much. I waltzed out of there and into my room. I opened up my computer and went to my resume. I started back on it and finished in 20 minutes. Well, now that the resume is over with, what should I do now? I decided on figuring out more about this Ethan dude. His mom was killed in the crash, so he had a motive to be so mad.
I walked over to Tristan and asked him about Ethan “Tell me more about Ethan.” Tristan was baffled by the sudden question, but he still started talking.
“I met him on the third day of economics and he was a really good person. We had the same interests, loved football, liked the Beatles, all that good stuff. The only thing that he was and I wasn’t was religious. He’s Catholic and went to church every week. He was very serious about his views, and he never really liked mentions of any other religion…” Tristan kept on talking about Ethan and I was surprised at how deep it could sometimes get, Ethan’s stories. I ended up writing down notes on the parts I thought were important and even wrote down some funny parts, too. When Tristan finished, I walked back into my room and called Detective Collins about some clues about wherever Ethan could live. I rolled on the bed until I found his number and called him. The phone started ringing, but no one ended picking up. Did he go to get coffee or did he fall asleep? It was still his hours, so I tried calling again. “Hello, this is Detective Collins. I am not at the phone at the moment. Please leave a voicemail with your name, what you are calling about, and any info on the topic. Sorry for the inconvenience.”