I should cancel Spotify. I keep saying I will. My year-end playlist contained two artists: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Sharon Van Etten. I am buying real albums again and calling into our local campus radio station with requests.
This was always my favourite song off Are We There but it took me years to actually watch the video.
Last year I received my first jury duty summons for my birthday. It was something I was interested in logistically, as someone fascinated by process and bureaucracy – and was unexpectedly excited when I opened the letter. I packed a bunch of books, including a biography of Pete Rose, because I bought too many cheap baseball books a couple times. I wrote a long out-of-office message. In the 90 minutes of waiting for us all to be processed and seated in the courtroom we quietly chatted to the people next to us, looking down at our laps, and someone who had been through this before knew to check the docket before coming, and only one case was scheduled today, you know, the girl who came down from North Bay and went missing and her mom came to the city. It turns out I was called for the trial of the first-degree murder of Tess Richey. The case that the cops fucked up so hard I texted That’s what everyone remembers.
The night she went out and never came home was my birthday, it was the busiest week of my final semester, and I remember everything I did that night. We went for drinks and wondered if we should get tickets for Gowan that same night in Richmond Hill and take the bus there. Nearby, Tess went out in the neighbourhood I spent all my time in, work and after-work, when I was her age. This whole time there was a serial killer. The coffee shop where I worked is where I first met trans folks and sex workers and where I met the first person I knew who was murdered, a trans woman and sex worker. I did not-so-smart things, and the video above is a decent representation of how I spent many nights looking just like that (though not that out of control). There are other details in her story that I relate to in retrospect. I proceed as if those years did not happen. Fifteen years later I text you what is it about me that lets people know that they can hurt me? and read our text conversation to my therapist.
Due to the luck of the draw I was one of the last to be called, and the jury was selected before I was asked to return to court. May she rest in peace. I am haunted.