What did you say your Name was? – A Novel, Chapter 13

Agnes was uneasy after the officers left. Especially, after he questioned her about Owen’s possible involvement with drugs. She remembered Owen telling her of his meeting with Demond in New York, but she had no idea about the deal between them. Fear gripped her as she thought Owen might have saved some information on his computer that may prove his involvement with drugs.

She noticed Owen hadn’t complained of his back pain recently. He spent a good deal of time in his study before coming to bed. Checking for next day’s schedule, she thought. She was so proud of his devotion to his work.

Agnes knew the local police and the FBI were not through with their investigation. They would return, possibly with a search warrant. She decided to look into Owens’ computer and see if she could find anything. She had her own laptop which she used for e-mail and shopping, but had never thought of snooping into Owen’s computer.

The next morning after breakfast she went into the study and closed the door to avoid being disturbed by the phone ringing in the kitchen. With no idea what she was looking for, she felt awkward and uncomfortable as if she was digging into someone’s private life, even though it involved her husband.

The computer was password protected. She tried several combinations — their names, birth dates, numbers from their home address, contraction of his business name. Nothing worked. To ward off the frustration, she walked over to the kitchen and poured a glass of cold water from the refrigerator water dispenser. She stared out of the kitchen window for a long time. Finally, as she walked back to the study, she remembered Owen was from Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. It’s worth a try, she thought. The acronym Pvok, Pauls Valley Oklahoma was close enough. Agnes added Owen’s birth year at the end separated by an ampersand. Lo and behold, she got lucky.

The computer had the usual folders — pictures, videos, music and documents. Under documents there were several draft letters, notes for the conference and Turbo tax files. Then under a folder called My Diary there were sub folders with dates in their names going back to her days in Malawi. That’s interesting, Agnes thought. Owen had been open with her. What could it be in these files? And why did he keep it secret from her?

The folders were in chronological order, starting with his years in Malawi as a Peace Corps volunteer until two days before his death. Agnes started reading from the beginning.

“I am so excited to start my assignment as a PCV.” He wrote. “There are numerous challenges in the work I have been assigned.”

 A little later he mentioned meeting Rachel, a fellow volunteer, and expressed concern about her health.

“I really like being with Rachel. I hope she gets used to the food here and stop being sick all the time.”

The memories of her volunteer days in Malawi filled Agnes with sadness. She had lived with Rachel and enjoyed her friendship, but when Rachel left because of bad health and the trauma from the attack on her by the hoodlums, she had felt bad. They stayed in contact for a few years until Rachel stopped responding and Agnes gave up. When in Malawi, Agnes never dreamt that she will marry Owen. He was friends with Rachel and she had left it at that.

“It’s sad that Demond stole the mosquito nets. I blame the company he keeps. He is a nice young boy and I should help him.”

 That was the first mention of Demond and was a reference to the time he had stolen the mosquito nets provided to his family to sell them.

By noon Agnes was hungry but didn’t feel like making a sandwich. She ate a banana and drank orange juice. She went back to read more of Owen’s diary. After a while she started skipping the earlier entries and went straight to the current files.

The diary had entries about Owen’s struggle with chronic back pain.

I have seen all the experts about my back pain. No one seems to know what’s going on. I am going to take the advice of the chiropractor, Kaylee’s friend from New York. The next time I visit her I will try ‘one of those bars.”  

 He wrote how glad he was that he traveled to New York and got re-acquainted with Demond at the Hookah Bar. He couldn’t restrain his joy of meeting an old acquaintance from Malawi.

“It was a blessing that I ran into Demond, of all the people, in the Spice of Life. I am glad he was able to get out of the miserable life of no hope in Malawi and make something of his life. Although I wouldn’t approve of the profession he has chosen.”

 Owen had made arrangements with Demond to receive packets of the cannabis cigarettes. He wrote that it helped him forget the pain. Agnes admired Owen’s patience and endurance in not showing how much pain he suffered. On the other hand she was upset he had kept her out of his dealings with Demond. She now understood why officer Martindale questioned her about Owen’s dealings with people outside his family.

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