The recovery journal of Claire Olsen

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story of a young lady journalist, whose life takes an unfortunate turn.

Submitted: August 27, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 27, 2012




The recovery journal of Claire Olsen


Day 1:

Based on the things I remember now:

The first thing I saw was the clinical ceiling. My head was filled with a kind of wind of pain. I still have it, but on this day I couldn’t talk anything yet. I realized when I was watching the equipment on the side of the bed, that this place was a hospital.

I couldn’t move any of my limbs, not even my toes or fingers. I tried to say something to the nurses passing by, but I could only growl. The older one gave a short glance, saying to the younger one:

-The sleeping beauty is conscious once again for a while.

-Poor thing. Will she ever see anything more than these walls…???

-No-one knows, but probably not.  I wonder, what has kept her going…I tried once again to say something, but not even a squeak came out of my mouth.

A few hours later the older nurse came to the room. I wanted to shout I was conscious. It was only a quiet sigh. She was just doing her obvious daily routine. All I could do was a soundless weeping. My hands and legs felt numb, especially on the right side. She didn’t notice my eyes moving.

When the younger nurse came even later, she started to make notes about the figures of the machines. I don’t know what it was in my glance that convinced her about me being fully conscious. Anyway, she called the older one and she finally took her colleague seriously.

Soon a tall doctor with a crew-cut was sitting on a chair and looked at me. He said:

-So, you may have woken up for good, miss Olsen. It has been a pretty long time… Will you follow this pen, please!

I could easily do that. Then he used the kind of hammer they use for my knees. Obviously he didn’t notice the intensity I was following things happening around me. Since he was talking more to the older nurse than anyone else:

-She seems to be able to react to things. But I’m not so sure about the reflections…

She was laughing, leaning her right elbow to her left hand and having her fingers on front of her mouth. Telling stories about people who had made me weep earlier with my fits of consciousness.

Later that day my parents visited me. I had noticed how discreet the hospital personnel had been to me. So, I pretended to be asleep, when the doctor arrived. He told them:

-I have years of experience and I have never seen anything like this. This is really the first time when anyone with this kind of head-injury has ever survived. She is the toughest person ever in this ward. But we cannot say for sure what will happen to her…. At least her eyes show she is following things very carefully.

-Well, Claire has always showed her feelings with her eyes… That was my father, I faintly remembered then.

Day 30:

Still based on my memories:

Despite my constant efforts to speak, I could only growl, squeak and moan. I had prayed every night and day that the intolerable pain in my head would stop. So, the helpless feeling was a constant friend, but the physical therapy had succeeded well. I could walk and write. The thing was, though, that all this took place with my left side. I was only dragging my right side. So, I couldn’t communicate at all with the staff verbally or literally.

My sister Louise was visiting me today. She had got used to the sign language I had to make. The bright glance of her brown eyes was bringing joy to my hard and aching everyday-life. She took a piece of her hair aside, while asking with a smile:

-Hello, Claire! How are you doing at the moment?!

I raised my right hand to the V for victory sign. This gesture was easily learnt by everyone as “yes” and mostly all the positive things. Still tried to talk, but the “hello” simply got stuck to my mouth. Physiotherapist, a black-haired woman in her thirties, came to the room. She participated to the conversation, saying.

-If she could add a very slight bit of the effort she uses for trying to speak… She gave me a glance, and added quickly:

-But you shouldn’t be sad at all. It can clearly be seen, how serious you are with this. Hard feelings?!

I showed her the thumb, forefinger and middle-finger of my left hand and formed an O with my right hand together. It took some time of people to see this as a “no”, but it is quite understandable.

She was a nice person. Though I always had a bothered feeling when she was around. I didn’t know why. She pulled her eye-brows together and asked:

-Muscles still aching?!

I had to show the V for victory to her. She seemed as if she was hiding something…


Day 45:

On this day, after my physiotherapy, I was looking at myself from a mirror in the ladies room. A pretty face and a sharp nose. The brown eyes couldn’t express the horrible pain of the inside. As a kind of celebration, I started to arrange my hair on my own. For the first time, God knows… for ages. The hair behind the even jaw made the jawline look stronger. Despite I knew the cranioplasty surgery had saved my life, seeing the scars without a shred of blonde hair made me feel sad.

When I went back to the gym, my therapist, Hannah was waiting for me. She noticed my feeling, saying:

-How do you feel?!

-Pain… her mouth remained open. I suddenly felt great in a way that a person feels, when realizes a possibility to help oneself. Or maybe a prisoner getting out of jail.


The speech therapist met me the same day. She was a woman with a light reddish hair, named Jane Kelly. She told me that getting this far was a miracle. Ever since doctor George Connor had said it, the sentence has been repeated endlessly…

Today I also met Ellen Ross for the first time. She was a detective, though I wasn’t told at first. She was a slim woman in her fifties, having red curly hair. Her speech was like the one of a student in Michigan University.

-Hello, miss Olsen, she said, while shaking my hand.

- We’ve been informed that you have started to speak. I am sorry we are here so soon after that. But we haven’t caught the one behind… Doctor Connor coughed behind my back.

-The… incident..

-Hwath… incident…??? I could only say, with a very slow tempo.

-Mrs. Ross, miss Olsen clearly cannot answer your questions yet, doctor Connor said with his low, husky voice.

And how could I?! The last memory I had was of me grabbing my coat, going to write an interview…

Still I couldn’t write down anything of my recovery, since my right hand had severe cramps.


Day 60:

The first day of my recovery, when I could write on my own. With a laptop. When I was trying to write by pen, my right hand... Hannah had told me that I will probably have to walk with a forearm crutch for the rest of my life. So, dragging my right leg would be permanent, I was sadly thinking to myself, while listening to the medical conclusion.

-…Miss Kelly has also stated you will probably form sentences very slowly permanently. However, the EEG and the MRI have indicated your ability to think normal or very close to normal. Your hearing seems to be OK. You might be too sensitive with your eye-sight at times. So, I suggest you to have sunglasses always with you. In general, though, you have been progressing unbelievingly well.

-So, am I… able to… go home?!

-You seem to be afraid, Claire… It is normal, even for people who have been here for a shorter time than this…

-The headache…

-I’m afraid we cannot do anything more with that. We have prescribed you the strongest painkillers there are and you cannot take them any more than ordered. And if you need any other medication, you have to ask us.


-Hrrmmm…. Consult your local doctor… I couldn’t help smiling lightly for a moment; even the experienced male doctors forget something.

He kept a small pause, looked at my eyes and said:

-Something more?

-The incident… I don’t… remember…

-It is the aftermath of your traumatic brain injury and it is quite possible you won’t get the momentum back to your head. Like you have told mrs. Ross already.

She had insisted me to tell as much as possible. I wish I could have remembered more and had been told what was the incident…


Day 67:

I was sent home at last. I was given a special farewell at the hospital and treated as if a heroine. The parents and Louise, the usually smiling kid-sister, were all quiet all the way home. I was reading the list of all people, to whom I was supposed to call if anything bad would happen. The list also included the local therapists.

The yellow childhood home with a red-tile roof was still in its place. I opened the French-door and stepped into the entrance hall, leaning heavily on my forearm crutch. While opening the door to our living-room, I noticed all the relatives and friends there. The warmth in my heart grew even stronger, when I noticed the “Welcome home, Claire!” sign hanging from the ceiling.

First many people gave loads of speeches in English, then some in our family language. I shook hands with people, at times leaning on my crutch. Then we had lunch and the conversation was flowing, me only saying a few words. A relative next to me was guessing if I was tired and got astonished about my wondering glance.

Father tried to say something in the middle of people. I remembered how difficult these kinds of things were for him. He let his glance to go around the room, me beside him.

-Well, like you have noticed, Claire is back! ... The laughter of the crowd eased him to give a pretty nice speech.

Then mother stepped in, telling everyone to have a glass of champagne. I was stunned when she even gave a glass to me.

-Mother… No liquor… paink….

-You will have a glass of champagne in this party. Never mind, what the doctors say…

Other people didn’t pay attention, since mother had already started to raise the toast. I was having a glass in my left hand, not knowing what to do. Afraid that my right hand might get a cramp. Louise passed me fast, grabbing away the glass and giving a new one. She said with her lips “cider”.

Later that evening she gave me a letter sent to me the day before to the address of my rented apartment. It had no return address. There was only a simple note in it, with the text: “Move away from Grand Lakes. Seriously. Ellen Ross, state detective.”


Day 69:

The editor-in-chief of Grand Lakes Enquirer, the little brown-haired woman with spectacles, visited me for an interview. I did remember Marie Hale. After the photo session, she told me the reason for her astonishment:

-Your mother told us you would come back to work right away.  Do you think that you… can?!

-No… I can’t… No interviews… I’m afraid… they will… be bored… to my slowness! Her glance made me say:

-Like I said… it is a miracle… that I even… speak! … Sorry!!!

We agreed I would make an article about a horse-race next day. Mother told me to continue with the thing I knew best. Never mind I couldn’t drive a car anywhere anymore because of my right leg and my right hand was still unpredictable. All she had to say was that since I had studied journalism in the university, I should continue with it.

I was sitting in my room, looking at the paintings I had done as a hobby. Thinking, that Claire Olsen most likely wouldn’t even paint a signature anymore. Suddenly my head was heavy with pain, different to anything experienced before.

It was overwhelmed with pressure. I held my hands against my head, almost crying.

Louise came to my room at the back of the house. She opened her mouth, saying:

-You look horrible… She opened the drawer of a little table, giving me the painkillers. I could hardly say:

-No… Taken the maximum… today… even slower than usual.

That was before a thunderstorm. The next day Michelle Lee, the Korean-American local doctor, told me about the possibility of sensitiveness for thunder, but not proven.


Day 70:

The horse race course was not far away from home, so I decided to walk there by myself. The sun was shining, but my hurting eyes needed dark glasses. On the left side of the main street there was a field and a small gym with a parking lot on the right. Walking further, there was a library. My first touch to the world outside home-state. The yellow dairy building had an amateur theater these days. I turned to left side of the street, wondering how I had got used to walk with a crutch. In the middle of crossing the bridge I felt the cramps of my right hand. All I could do, and still can, is to wait for them to pass by.

After getting the feeling easier, I continued my walking. In the wooden blue building there was a Harley Davidson store and on the right side of the street there was a local high school, where I graduated years ago with As. On front of the brown-painted steak house with a black-and-orange sign, Vicente stopped me. “Fresh” as could be in his trawl of ripped clothes, evidence of another night spent “cardboarding” beneath one of several sheltering bridges.

This small man with a grey-turned hair and moustache started talking to me how his daughter considered me as one of the most open-minded and kindest people in school at the time. He said he was going to a hospital in Minneapolis. He needed ten bucks for a ticket.

-No… I don’t have… cash… He stared at me with his blue eyes and continued begging. Saying, how urgent his need was. The situation grew so stressful, that I could form sentences even harder. Finally he drew my sunglasses off and threw them to the ground. Then he passed me by, saying loads of words with a fast phase. I didn’t catch them all, but at least there were “arrogance” and some words I cannot add to this.

Peter was driving the car coming from the opposite direction. I tried to catch his glance, but he gave the impression of not caring about anyone.


Day 71:

I was in the office of The Grand Lakes Enquirer, when the heavily-built, bearded man came in. I knew him, he was “The Steak man”. He even had his SUV painted with brown cattle figures. He kept talking about football season and naming all the teams. Since I couldn’t talk back at all anymore, he stared at me as if meaning “you retarded”.

In the article I had told the results of the race and of the old field with an old yellow pavilion in the end of the course. Naturally, the article didn’t describe a guy with red hair and green eyes sitting next to me. His white suit was flawlessly clean. He spoke with a low, slightly nasal voice.

-May I…?! I nodded.

He was following the girls in their black jackets and helmets riding through the course. After a while he turned back to me, asking:

-Writing an article?! and smiled.

-Yes… A bright observation… I had my notebook at hand. He continued talking with me and I tried to give as bright short answers as possible. Somehow he was patient enough to give room for slow talking. But finally he said:

-You don’t talk much for a journalist!

-I have… a speech impediment… I had already learnt to be cautious about my head-injury, while talking with unfamiliar people.

-Anyway… you are interesting… The wind was blowing through my hair. I gave him a smile. He said: -You even smile more with your eyes than your mouth…

On the way back from The Enquirer, I faced a thin small man. He had an utmost thin face and he was bold. Despite it was spring, he was wearing a kind of winter clothing. He had his mouth open and his teeth were bad. He greeted me and asked:

-Claire Olsen?! I nodded.

-When I read the news, I was sure, that you are dead! He smiled.


Day 72:

Louise came from her trip to Minneapolis. I felt very difficult to ask her but finally I had to say:

-Louise… hwath has happened… to me??? She turned to me, her eyes stunned. I knocked on my head with my left fore-finger:

-Cerebral shock… no memory! After a pause I continued: -Last picture ..  in my mind…is grabbing my coat,…  rushing… to the car!

-My God… well, mother… promised to tell you… at the hospital, when doctor Connor told about your memory loss!

-She hasn’t!!! She grasped her breath.

-You… you… have never had that scary glance!

She sat beside me and started to talk with a low voice and thinking for a long time:

-Well, Claire… You were invited by Peter to a camp for disabled children in Afton for writing a report to The Star Tribune. It was supposed to be your first article for a bigger newspaper. You got there… but one of the guards… opened fire… My God, why did you jump on front of him???... When the paramedics first got there… They thought to take you to the morgue at first… I cried and vomited at the same time, while watching television…

I put my hand on her shoulder and told her she didn’t need to say more than she wanted to. Now I could understand mrs. Ross high-pressuring me. I let my sister cry in peace. But I just had to ask:

-Did Peter ever… visit me… in the hospital?!

-No… not to my knowledge…

This time Louise was putting her arm to my shoulder. I was quiet, but two things kept hanging in my mind: Why Peter didn’t visit me? Why didn’t mother tell me?


Day 75:

I had tried all over again to ask mother why she hadn’t told me. She hadn’t given me any plausible explanation. Father had been distant ever since I returned. Louise was busy, trying to get to the Minnesota University.

Victoria, our aunt from Duluth, was visiting us today. She was talking with mother while I was on Facebook. Many of my friends there had forgotten me, but the ones to appreciate had remained.

Victoria was a black-haired woman, aged with grace. She was drinking coffee with my parents. She asked mother:

-What is she going to do, since she cannot drive a car? At least she cannot go to any events now.

My mother replied.

-She will continue with The Enquirer. And she will write…

-She has her own will and life still… my ever-quiet father was trying to say. Mother said back with an angry voice:

-She’s here and she will be here. And that Peter… I remembered Louise telling me about mother’s dislike. But she herself never talked on front of me.

Visiting Facebook didn’t work since mother started mocking Vicente’s daughter, my closest high school friend. And Peter… despite he had left me after the shooting, I still had some feelings for him. When mother put a single on the vinyl player I lost my temper. I entered the living room and I just had to smash the record on my right leg.

Sadly, it was a single called “Shadow on the wall” by Mike Oldfield. Father had bought it as a gift on their honeymoon from a shop in Calver street in Amsterdam.

The lyrics about losers and shadows were just too much for me. I immediately put my things together and took a taxi to a motel. Mother cursed and shouted that I will never make it outside home.


Day 77:

Father visited me at the Larsen’s. The room was like the ones in every small motel. He was watching me with his blue eyes and shook his bold head, saying:

-Your mother insists you to come home… I was looking at him, feeling bad, but had to say:

-No… I won’t come… back! … I am me, not… her puppy!

-Think about it… You need your therapists and your medicine for the rest of your life… And how do you think you could ever interview people… with…

-My slow talking… you mean? ... No, I don’t feel… insulted. …

Father was quiet for a while. Then he started:

-And… You don’t know how much she has put pressure on Louise lately… At times saying she will face your destiny, if she doesn’t listen to her mother.

-What do you think?!

-You have to live with it.

-I mean Louise!

-Louise! I wish I could say… Minnesota university and mother. At least she seems to deal with it. You probably have to find something else if you want to…

-I can write… with a laptop. … If my right hand… gets the cramps… I can control my left… now! … I have earned… with my columns!

-You don’t have to be angry! I want you to get on with your life!

I wasn’t angry for a long time; at least father was talking with me now. I only wished Louise had told me about her pressure from mother.

I hadn’t shown anyone the letter I had received to the motel. It was a simple letter with a note: “Don’t start living on your own. Ellen Ross, state detective”


Day 80:

I called detective Ross and angrily asked about her source considering my moves. She refused to say with her polite manner.

I was coming back from the library by taxi. The Grand Lakes Enquirer had made big headlines at the time but no photos. The Star Tribune had photos and articles about the whole scene. So did some east and west coast newspapers too. The Google search still had photos of me and they were awful to watch indeed. Youtube still had some clips. The most horrible piece of information was though, that a total of twenty people had been shot. Including the ones I had tried to protect by my effort.  The number of the wounded was seventy-five, including Peter.

The fake security guard had made an exact replica of the real security company’s one. The shooter had had a short-time blog. There he had declared himself as “an eugenist”, “fighting to save the human race”. He had also stated that since “he was on a mission, he couldn’t stay at the scene or tell his name.” “The eugenist” had promised to strike again when similar events would take place.

The young man I had met at the races some days before was coming to his motel-room opposite to me. He gave me a smile and said:

-It is a small world. Why are you living in a motel?! I thought you are one of the locals!

-Some trouble… at home… Despite I had had a bitter feud with my mother I tried to avoid to tell more.

-Which one is stronger?! He presumably thought I had left a boy-friend.

-The one… with a stronger… mind… I smiled, while stepping in.


Day 81:

I had made my study all night. The weather was turning to a thunderstorm, so I had difficulties with my head. Lightnings made me wear my sunglasses. I started missing home, first time after I had smashed that record. I got a text message from the red-haired man to visit his motel room. Having an umbrella and a crutch at the same time was a bit difficult, so I decided to get wet …

Something caught my eye on the other end of the L shaped motel. Despite raining and my difficulties I was interested to see more. Through my sunglasses I saw someone was fitting himself into a uniform. I turned the door knob and felt uneasy…

The room seemed empty now but the collector’s items on the table showed the thoughts of the resident. I had entered an extremist’s kingdom. Notebook had loads of declarations to deliver. It was stupid of me to step in and this far from the door. Through the white stream of eye-sight problems I could see some sentences of getting rid of those who were on the way of his mission.

Suddenly he shot the crutch off my hand, just a few inches away from the handle. I fell on my back, heart had started pounding fast. The red-haired man I had met made no effort to hide his face. He took off my sunglasses, saying with the same peaceful manner as ever:

-We are meeting for the second time! You were on my way the last time…

There I was. Feeling strongly my crippled recovery was coming to its end. Head was aching like hell, and the lights of the motel room disturbed my eyes. They made me feel blind. His setup had been perfect to the weaknesses of my condition. Now and then I could see his proud glance through my stream of blindness. I felt helpless, I have to admit. My lips were moving nervously.

Obviously he had expected me to say something, even a word or two. I chose not to; I chose defiance, for the sake of all of us in Afton. Never mind if he would shoot my head to pieces. My lips didn’t move and I started to stare to his eyes with anger. He slowly started to lower his gun from his ear level towards my face… But then he violently turned me face down.

The numb right leg. The useless right leg. The burden I had to drag with me. He didn’t realize how stiff my right leg really was. He slightly slipped against it and shot a few inches off my head. Despite all the conditions were against me, I raised my left foot and pushed him. All that took less than a few seconds, me fearing for my life.

He fell to his back and started moaning. The security guard of the motel rushed in.  I was still blinded by the lights of the ceiling, but tried to start standing. So I thought he was aiming at me.

-I… didn’t…

-Calm down… you are safe…  I felt my nose bleeding; the gun’s end had hit my nose, while flying off the red-haired man’s hand.


Day 82:

The police station had a brown couch along the wall, a four-piece table on front. On the other side there was an arm-chair, where I was sitting. The counter was behind it and its pair, between them was a small table.

The sunglasses were lost, but my eyes were beginning to get used to the light of the police station. My right thigh had a piece of plaster on the wound. I had a blanket on my shoulders, my feelings were absent and waiting for the next thing to happen. The police officer, who first arrived to the scene, had helped me to the car with the security guard.

My right hand had its cramps and the humming of my headache still had its grip. The police officer arrived to the office, saying:

-You really did pay him back, Claire! He is in the hospital and seems to have got paralyzed from the neck down…

-I… didn’t mean… to hurt him bad… I could say. Tiredness slowed down my speech even more. The police officer put his hand on my shoulder.

-You shouldn’t have moved away from home, Claire! The voice was of detective Ross’s.

I got bothered and turned my eyes to the direction of the voice.

-I told the motel owner to hire a guard for the time that you are staying there!

-Why? Who told you… I was holding my crampy right hand in my left. She continued calmly:

-The Eugenist told in his declaration to The Star Tribune that he will get rid of all on their way and clear all the wrong elements of mankind. You were literally on his way and you are disabled, so he had two reasons to…

-Who told you… about my moving… away?!

-One close to you, one who knew about your need for independence!


-A reliable source. You can look scary, but I have experience of the real fierce people.

I knew it was useless to ask more about that person. The declaration also included The Eugenist’s pardon for “not staying at the scene since his mission needed moving from one place to another”. There, sitting in the police station, holding my crampy hand, the subconscious thought hidden for so long time came to my head: “Why me?! How could I ever make it up to the others, not so lucky?”


Day 83:

I was at home in my motel-room at the Larsen’s. My father visited me with Louise. My sister was interested about the inquiry made at the police station.

-They have believed… it was… self-defence!

-Do you have to testify?!

-Yes… I suppose so!

-But they will tear you apart! The defence attorney will make clear you will need loads of painkillers because of your head daily. Your slow speech doesn’t impress the jury either, or your crutch.

-The eugenist…  has made a full … confession. … I had expected he … would understand the disabled … more or even regret. Instead… he thought himself… as a victim.

-What did you feel for facing him for the second time?!

-Nothing… I still don’t remember… the first time… The second time.. I feared!... I am looking… at the first one… from Eugenist support site… as if I was… someone else!

-Have you visited that site?!

-I didn’t find… it anywhere… else!

-I remember father’s expression when he was taking your stuff home from the apartment… Louise’s face was impossible to describe. It was very understandable; if I didn’t know it was me, I would have thought the wounded one to be dead.

-Mother would like to have you back. She is still upset about the record breaking, but…

-I am sorry, father. … but it is… impossible!

Earlier today, I had tried to make an interview for the Enquirer, with no encouraging results; the farmer had made it a bit too clear that a person with my speech impediment was too retarded in his mind. My driver’s license had been taken off ever since my medication, so it would cause some trouble for a journalist’s profession.

Later today Louise told me about father’s final decision to sell his gun store to our uncle for good. He had decided to try with uncle’s Harley Davidson store… I didn’t know if it was a good idea.


Day 95:

I was testifying in the court room in Minneapolis.  The room had traditional brown walls and rosewood furniture. Entering the room there was the United States flag on the left side.

My name and address was presented first and then my statement from Grand Lakes. Then they presented the examinations and tests made especially for my witnessing. They showed once again me being able to think normally, having an obviously permanent speech impediment etc.

I was presented a few identification things, to which I had to answer with a simple yes and no. For the sake of my credibility I wasn’t wearing my sunglasses at the stand, despite the light disturbed me.  In the audience stands the light wasn’t too bright.

The key-witness was Peter. He stated the man in the guard’s uniform being Edgar O’Brien, the man in Afton and later in Grand Lakes. Peter avoided looking at me, making me sad.

The witness after him surprised me; she was Hannah Harmon, my physiotherapist. She was presented as the sister of O’Brien’s. She had her head down. When she raised her eyes, they met mine. They expressed utmost shock. Later she seemed confused. I understood, but looking at her brother; thinking about what he had done, he looked pathetic in his helplessness. His stern belief in his self-made racial improvement nonsense and still believing in it felt pitiful and horrible at the same time. The thing particularly hurting me, was that he stated me to be a traitor and thus I earned being shot to the neck.

Despite I had imagined myself only as a witness among others I was surrounded by the press at the hall. The demand for comments made me panicking for the first time ever in my life. I put my sunglasses on, wondering how the performer I once was had vanished. In my sudden anxiety, I suddenly felt a hand in my left.

Louise took the stand, smiling at the press. She told them:

-Like you heard in the courtroom, my sister has a permanent speaking disorder. She will answer you in short sentences, when you give her a chance…

After her talk most of them started to ask their questions more calmly, some even too calmly… Mostly they were asking about the details of my testimony. When there was a question about the NRA, Louise held my hand more tightly and I just said “No membership”. She did the same, when they asked about an article of my recovery, published first in Minnesota Medicine, then later in New England Journal of Medicine. I only said “Have to read that!” Those times I wished to be able to talk better…

I remembered a scene from a long, long time ago; Louise had kept playing Mozart’s Turkish march for ever and ever.

I told her to get her feet to the ground, me not wanting a Peanuts-Schroeder as a kid-sister. Now, she was keeping my feet on the ground. I couldn’t help having a tear for my moved feelings.


Day 105:

I made a change to the Facebook, using “Claire Head Olsen” as my name, not knowing what will come with it. I was living with Louise in her rental apartment, following the trial. Mother wanted me to come home and continue at The Enquirer, texting me that “Claire still has a mother”. She hadn’t met me for a while and I felt kind of guilt; father seemed to live only under the same roof at the moment.

To find something to do, I entered a gallery. The wall beside the sign was painted with modern art. A relatively short, chubby man with a brown curly hair shook my hands. He had white sunglasses and a black jacket. He asked me with his soft voice:

-Are you the young woman, who was shot and testified…???

-Yes, I am… he got shocked by my stare.

-I am … here… only to watch… the exhibition!

-Of course you are. You are free to see all the arts here.

There I was, wandering around the room. I couldn’t help thinking I had lost my hobby. The exhibition a few months before the shooting had been a success. I started to make notes with my left hand; since I am not naturally like that, I couldn’t see what I was writing and it is still the same.

Based on those notes, I wrote my first-ever review. Despite I had been considered as the self-confident elder sister, I had always been too sensitive to tell my point straight-forward. I e-mailed that piece to the editor-in-chief of The Enquirer, not realizing what effect it would have for my future writing.

Later in the evening, I had a slight argument with Louise. She finally said:

-Claire… you have been always a person dealing with people. You cannot be inside my room for the rest of your life. You must move on… Tell people what you really feel!

It was the first step to this blog; making it up to the people in Afton and possibly help other people with a kind of fate of mine.

Day 120:

Today I moved away from Grand Lakes for good. The review opened a career that I had never imagined. My sensitivity to say something had been considered as a “suitably discreet way of evaluation” and the common readers had appreciated me for “writing for ordinary persons”.  So, the to-do-something got me a job for several papers, though, I admit, that the editor-in-chief had her connections to bigger papers.

Mother still insisted me to continue as a regular reporter for Grand Lakes Enquirer. Despite my formal resignation. I stepped  into train to Minneapolis.

In the train compartment, I read about the trial of The Eugenist. Their biggest trouble seemed to be whether to consider him as insane or not. Both the prosecutor and the defence attorney had made psychological estimations, completely different from each other.

-Why did you add Head to your name, Claire?! Father, who was coming with me, asked.

-There was already… a Claire Elisabeth… Olsen… there! I said, smiling. Despite it kind of hurt, when I couldn’t even say my full name.

-And… I thought that… if there are people… with my fate!

-But there could be also people for prey there!

-Yes, I know, father,… but the… Eugenist… happened… to be moving to… Michigan… via Grand Lakes!

He had his silent but very caring glance. I continued my reading, but The Star Tribune hadn’t that much interesting news today. I watched the scenes from the window, passing by. Then I told father:

-I am… going to start… a blog!


-I owe that… to the people… not as lucky as… me!

-You mean sharing experience?!



© Copyright 2020 jrahde. All rights reserved.

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