Kirie’s essay Getting a Life – Coming of Age With Killers, published in Under the Sun, has been nominated for the prestigious Best American Essays anthology.
“An essay is a short piece of prose in which the author reveals herself in relation to any subject under the sun.”
Just a few miles from my home, a boy my age was living a parallel life. A kid named Ted Bundy attended school in Tacoma, forty minutes down the Interstate. In those final years of the sixties, punctuated with public assassinations, this young future killer and I marched across the stage in our high school caps and gowns, ready to forge our ways in the world.
In the early seventies, Ted Bundy cast his victims along logging roads in the glorious Cascade Mountain Range that slices up Washington State, separating the lush green west from the dryer east. Sometimes Ted visited his discarded prey later on.
In my early twenties, every three or four weeks a peer in her late teens or early twenties disappeared. Brenda, a year behind me at Mt. Rainier High School, was number six. The women vanished from streets I’d walked that same day, from beaches where my friends and I sat to tan, from beds just blocks from my own, and from the campuses of the universities my sisters, friends, and I attended. The women were attractive. They were bright. Like many of us then, the vanished women were trusting and naïve, always ready to help a stranger.
As the number of victims increased, much was made of the fact that their hair was long and parted down the middle. The murderer must have a thing for girls like that, editorials claimed. In our huddled conversations about our vanished friends, my friends and I scoffed. Almost all of us wore our hair long and parted down the middle. Those faces looking out at us from the front pages of the Seattle Times or Post Intelligencer mirrored ours.
5 comments On Kirie’s “Getting A Life” Nominated for Best American Essay
Similar to my experience with the son of Sam in New York City ?
Your essay is so good–congratulations, Kirie!
What a fantastic essay. I was engrossed. Well done!
That is so weird because I lived in Kent and one day when I was walking down the street at the age of 19 a guy wanted me to get in his car. He was very nice offering me a ride but I declined. When I got to the bottom of the street he was waiting and again tried to persuade me to get in the car with him. I had long dark hair that I parted in the middle and it wasn’t until many years later that I learned about the guy and saw his picture. I shudder to think about what might have happened had I got in his car….
Thank you all for your comments! ~Kirie