A Landmark Case

The alarm goes off, twice. He always waits for two rings before he turns it off. He swings his feet onto the floor and sits up. He looks over to the empty space on the left side. She always slept on the left. She marked where he would always land when he fell, yet now his mind always landed to the mark of her in his memory. Groggily, he walks over to the bathroom and stares into the mirror. He pats his face to make sure he is awake and then splashes some water onto it. His beard is beginning to show, he shaves every other day to keep his face clean. It’s like being able to have a clean slate, or that is what she always told him. He jumps into the shower, washing yesterday off of him. Feeling more awake, he dries off and dresses himself in his uniform. He is still not used to seeing himself as an officer, but he decided to offer his services to the public in an attempt to solve a private matter. He wanted to be an architect but after college he began to work in construction, where the jobs were sporadic but his wife loved it. She loved watching how seemingly insignificant objects could transform into massive structures. To him, she was architecturally beautiful. Upon having the blueprints of her revealed to him, he concluded that she could never be replicated. He loved every inch of her, even her imperfections, if he had the chance he would have declared her as a landmark so that she would remain unchanged. That was just one of the many things he wish he would have-could have done. She was taken from him. People assume that he remembers it vividly, but the truth is, the more he attempts to relive the past, the more the present distorts it and causes it to become a hazy memory.

He remembers finding her in a pool of her own blood staining the white sheets. He called the police and stared at her until they arrived. Their arrival led to a year long search that left more questions than answers. He was the initial subject but his alibi cleared him, he slept at a friend’s house the night before. He shakes off the memory, he has to head out for work. He became a police officer in hopes that he could solve what they could not. He was driven, easily allowing him to graduate at the top of the academy. He has solved plenty of cases, but the only number that matters is the one case of his wife. He greets everyone at work, engaging in polite conversations. The captain calls him into his office. The captain tells him that there has been a murder, one that eerily resembles the murder of his wife. The captain bets that the same killer is behind it. He insists to be put on the case, but the captain refuses claiming that he would be too involved. He grows angry, how can he be so close and then be denied the chance to close the case? The captain sympathizes with him and vows that the team will work as best as they can to catch the bastard. Driven by rage he begins to shout and threaten the captain. Other officers dash in and hold him down. He tries to remain calm as the captain tells him to take some time off. He storms out of the station. He rushes home wishing to be greeted by the only arms that could make him feel yet he is met with a feeling of emptiness. The anger begins subsiding as he screams in agony while tears begin to flow. Exhausted and defeated, he falls asleep.

His dreams allow him to see her again. He examines her face, tracing each part with her fingers. He attempts to memorize her, wrinkles? When did those start emerging? She is withering, eroding. She looks frightened, but he knows how to make her okay. He declares her as a landmark, she must be preserved.

His phone begins ringing, wakefulness arises as his dream vanishes from his recollection. His partner promised to keep him updated. There was another murder, a woman who just turned 30, wasn’t that how old your wife was?

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