It’s been a minute, but I haven’t given up on my goal of telling this story and learning more about the murder of Christine Saroya. I have done some work with the district court where the case was heard and will hopefully be getting a copy of the transcripts in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime I am in the middle of another vein of this story, so let’s continue, shall we?
The job that B and I worked together was seasonal. So it was a situation where we would see each other constantly from March to October, and then I would occasionally catch glimpses of him at school in between classes. Then I moved to a different school. (After my parents divorced we never really had a stable address for many years). This was upsetting for many reasons, but I was feeling so sad that I would be leaving the friends I’d made again and trying to start over. This is also the mid 1990’s, so calling outside your pre-determined area cost as much as a long distance call, even though we moved about 10-15 miles away. The logistics of maintaining friendships, even from a short distance, were much more difficult to navigate than you’d expect.
My mom wasn’t really sensitive to these things. I was allowed to keep my job and I spent the majority of my check paying my mom back for the calls to my friends. It was so lonely, I wasn’t able to drive yet and trying to fit in with people that are already sophomores in high school and have known each other for 10-ish years is tough.
I really looked forward to going to work, but getting there and back became an ordeal. Sometimes I would ride the school bus to the stop nearest the restaurant (3 miles away) and walk the rest of the way to get there, and often times my ride home was late, sometimes more than an hour, and the closing manager would have to wait until my ride showed up to be able to leave themselves. It was embarrassing, but it was my main connection to friends so I couldn’t quit. One night, I fell onto the grill and burned my arm badly, the main owner was closing that night and my mom hadn’t shown up, so I pretended she had and hid outside. Then I cried in the parking lot because it still hurt, and I was embarrassed and scared that no one was coming.
Another such incident seemed serendipitous to me at the time. The restaurant employed mostly teenagers and it wasn’t the most well maintained place. Every summer the air would go out and with the heat plus the grill, fryers, and steamers, it would get to be over 100 degrees inside. On one such day it was over 110 degrees and workers were starting to feel sick. G was managing that day and decided to close early. I was never sure if my mom would make it to pick me up at the correct time, let alone 4+ hours early. I tried to call my house numerous times with no response, so G decided that B would take me home. I was so excited and on the drive we actually got to talk privately and it made me even more enamored of him. The nail in the coffin was when a sweet song came on the radio and he said that it always made him think of me, it was crazy because it never occurred to me that he thought of me outside of work at all.
We started to talk more after that and he mentioned that he didn’t have anything to do on the night of the Sadie Hawkins dance. I didn’t either and he asked if I wanted to hang out with him.
My mom would never let me go out with a boy and my ability to ride in cars with my friends was highly dependent on her mood and if the circumstances were convenient or beneficial in some way. So instead of telling her what I was really doing, I told her I was staying the night with a friend from my old school. She agreed and he picked me up that evening, about half an hour late, but I was so excited. My mom worked afternoons so she was none the wiser.
This date should’ve scared me off enough to change my mind about B, but I now recognize that I had my own trauma that I was trying to work through and my own toxic behaviors at the time.
He picked me up and kept asking what I wanted to do, but what I wanted to do was hang out with him and this was the first thing even resembling a date that I’d had. I could tell that my indecisiveness was frustrating, but I also didn’t want to suggest and idea he hated. We went to a comic book store and decided to go to the dollar show since it was next door. We saw “Hackers”. Afterwards it was more of the same driving around aimlessly with him being angry that I couldn’t make a decision. I told him to do whatever he normally would and I would just tag along. We went to McDonalds and I insisted on paying for myself so as not to seem like I wanted his money. After that he said he was just going to go home, I was hoping he would invite me over for a bit, but he didn’t. He took me to my friend’s house that I was supposed to stay with. He was very angry when he dropped me off, and I was very sad. I went to the door and she wasn’t home yet, which made it even worse. He had driven down the street to turn around and I tried to flag him down to take me home or to another friend’s house. Instead, he aimed the car at me and almost hit me with it. He stopped and told me that he had nothing to say and took off. I had no idea what I had done that was so bad, but it was my first glimpse into his temper. He would later tell me that he did aim his car at me, but had no intention of hitting me, he just wanted to scare me. He also told me that he was frustrated at the time because he liked me a lot, but he didn’t know if he was ready to be in a serious relationship and it was weighing on him. In hindsight I realize that these were pathetic excuses, but at that time I was actually flattered 🤦♀️.
I had my backpack and nothing else that night, so I walked to another friend’s house and she let me stay over. I wallowed and told her and her mom my sad story, and figured it was probably over.
And as we now know it was just getting started.