by Erin Lucey ’20
Ten…Nine…Eight…I counted down, chanting with the crowd all the way to one. For the first time in I don’t know how many years, I was actually excited for this new year. A lot had changed in the past year, and I can count on one hand how many of those changes were for the better. I was desperately in need of a fresh start. Something new and exciting—a sign that things would soon be going my way. As everyone turned to plant a celebratory kiss on their neighbor, I locked eyes with the person who brought me to where I am now, though I can’t say that this was the type of change I had been praying for.
After the lingering countdown hugs, screams, and dancing died down, he approached me. “Hi Ella, it’s me, Tony. I know it’s been a while, but I’ve actually been looking for you for quite some time now,” the stranger explained. As I stared at him, the confusion in my eyes must have been painfully apparent because he grabbed my hand and pulled me off to one of the empty offices that hadn’t been locked for the event. “So, I know this is crazy, but some people know that we were there. They’re trying to figure out who did it, and they want us to talk about what we saw. I know it’s painful to think about, and going back to that night is probably the last thing you want to do, but I’m scared of what will happen to us if we don’t help them.”
I stared blankly into the concerned eyes of a man I’ve never seen before. “I-I’m really sorry. I think you have the wrong person. I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I said, clutching my jacket and heading back towards the noise of the party crowd. “No, Ella, you do. It’s about Addie. The night at the lake.” And that’s it. That’s all I remember before waking up here.