I didn’t know Amy LeFevre – not really – but I’d seen her around town, riding her bike in her short shorts and Doc Martens, bruises up and down her legs like tattoos fading in the sun. If you really pressed her about the bruises (and so few ever bothered – – I only asked her once out of polite concern) she’d offer self-deprecatory excuses of clumsiness or claim she was anemic.
She wore those Docs so proudly; she’d had to go to the city to get them, and they seemed to be her declaration that she’d gotten out once, and she would get out again. They had steel toes and Amy had gotten in trouble on more than one occasion for using them against boys who just wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Amy had recently shaved her head, and the oh-so-clever boys in school and around the small-minded small town of Arcadia had taken to changing the words to that old Queen song to sing at her “I want to ride my bi-sexual, I want to ride my dyke!” Amy was not a lesbian, not that it mattered to anyone. Closet homosexuality was not the secret that Amy kept, so their taunts didn’t bother her.
Amy’s father ran the hardware store in Arcadia, just as his father had before him, and he was a small, broken man with a broken marriage and a small house living in a small, broken town, and he was absolutely terrified of two small words: Home Depot.
By day he was congenial, and his customers all loved him and wished him well, and would join in his armchair economics lectures that he would launch into whenever the topic of the big box chains came up, which was nearly always. During business hours it was merely sympathizing and small town solidarity, and the conversations would always just be polite agreement that the winds are changing or some other homily. After hours, Amy’s dad would park himself at the bar, and after a couple of drinks, launch into accusations at fellow townsfolk who he knew, he just knew were doing their shopping at the Home Depot just outside of town and taking food right out of my mouth, goddammit!
This is the man that Amy had to deal with every night, and if Amy wore her shorts so short, well, maybe it was so that her father would have to constantly see the bruises, and maybe, just maybe he’d be ashamed and leave her alone. Or maybe she hoped that the townsfolk would put two and two together and say something, do something – but her cry for help went unanswered, even, I’m ashamed to say, by me. Maybe the reason why she shaved her head was so her father couldn’t grab her hair when she tried to scramble away from him when he came into her room at night stinking of Johnny Walker and the sickly sweet tobacco of those cheap cigars he liked to smoke.
One day, Amy just disappeared.
By the time they discovered her father’s body at the bottom of his basement stairs, Amy was long gone.
They found her bike at the Amtrak station in the next town ten miles away.
They never found Amy.