How do you feel about your family, now that you’re an adult?
I’m thirty-four years old, and I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, so I’m not sure I fully qualify as an adult. But it’s a valid question. My sister has been missing for fifteen years, and I think of her every day. Emma was a spiritual person. Always talking about God’s plan. At the time, I was a smart-alecky college student. I told her, “You’re becoming a bit of a religious freak, Em.” Now I think I get it, you know? Everything happens for a reason. Life has meaning. You’ve got a purpose. That kind of thing. I wish I could tell her now that I understand.
What do you want from life?
Ah, the paradox. Everyone has a purpose, but I have no clue what mine is supposed to be. I’ve been a construction worker, legal assistant, waiter, bartender, and check-in clerk for a rental car agency. I’ve dropped out of med school – not once – but two times. Clearly, that’s not part of the plan. And the latest? (waves a textbook in the air) Crime Scene Investigation.
If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?
More than anything I’d like to know the fate of my sister. Then I’d like to find a fulfilling career. After that? Maybe a girlfriend. Someone who gets my tendency to be dramatic.
What three things would you take to a Desert Island?
My dog, Roxy.
A large box of Milk Bones.
A jumbo package of spaghetti. . . although then I’d need a pot, and I can’t ask for a fourth item. The Milk Bones are non-negotiable, so maybe I should go with a Costco-sized jar of marinara sauce.
In your relationship with others, how are you different with family than you are with friends? Why?
I’m pretty frank with my friends, but I have to walk on eggshells around my parents. They are convinced that Emma is dead. They’ve grieved and sorted through her things. It’s too painful for them to talk about her. When I had this experience. . . how do I explain it? It was an understanding that Emma was still alive and living another life somewhere. When I told my mom about it, she nearly lost a gasket. She thinks I’m crazy, and she wishes I would just go study medicine and move on.
How do you fall in love? At first sight? Over a long period?
Oh, the love question. Are women reading this? Lust at first sight is no problem, but in general people have to grow on me – friends and girlfriends. It’s been several years since I’ve dated. That guy who dropped out of med school. I’m not exactly reeling in the females with that status.
What parts of loving come easy for you? Hard?
I love flirting, but that’s not hard. I probably have a fear of losing the women I love. Hey, maybe I should look into becoming a psychiatrist. What do you think?
How do you decide if you can trust someone? Experience with others? With this person? First impressions? Intuition? Do you test the person somehow? Or are you just generally disposed to trust or not to trust?
Ugh. Maybe psychiatry is not for me because these questions are hurting my brain. It’s too painful to think about my trust issues, so clearly I have some. Nevertheless, I rely on intuition. And I also trust my dog’s opinion of people. Her intuition is even more finely-tuned than mine.
When you walk into a room, what do you notice first? Second?
If there is a dog, I notice the dog. Then maybe a girl if she looks interesting. After that, books. Books remind me of Emma.
When you walk into a room, what do you expect people to notice about you?
Probably my mood. I’m fairly passionate. Like either really excited or mad. I don’t do the whole detached and disinterested routine.
Describe yourself to me.
Brown hair, clean cut. I wear cowboy boots everywhere I go, even though I’ve never ridden a horse. I’m just over six feet tall. That’s on the physical side. You already know about my tumultuous personality and my dry sense of humor.
Is one sense more highly developed than another? (Are you more visual, or audial, etc, or do you rely on the famous sixth sense?)
I’m getting more comfortable with my sixth sense. . . especially after my spiritual experience at the Avis Rent-a-Car. Don’t ask.
Did you turn out the way you expected? The way your parents predicted?
I haven’t really turned out yet. So, no, I guess. And my parents still think I’m going to med school. I’m not really proud of the decade of my life I pissed away. But there’s still hope for me. All I’ve got to do is find Emma, figure out a career, and get qualified for said career. Piece of cake.
What really moves you, or touches you to the soul?
I suppose I’ll tell you about the Avis Rent-a-Car epiphany now. Yeah, you asked for it, man. So here goes. This happened about four years ago. I was hungover one morning, standing behind the counter at Avis Rent-a-Car, staring out the window. I could see the planes taking off and landing. It was sort of hypnotic. For some reason, Emma’s face popped into my head. I’d tried so hard to suppress the feelings year after year; I’d almost forgotten what she looked like. But all of a sudden, there she was smiling at me. Then I realized she’d be older. She wouldn’t look like that, you know? I was thirty. She’d be twenty-eight. For a moment the idea almost suffocated me. My sister could be out there, and I might not even recognize her. Or she might be dead, only a memory, forever frozen in the image of a seventeen-year-old girl. . . Then the most amazing thing happened. I felt this sudden calm come over me. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced in my life. There was this presence. It enveloped me and embraced me. I heard a voice. It was in my head, but it wasn’t my own thoughts, you know? “She is okay,” was all it said, but in that instant I knew. I just knew she was someplace safe and she had gone wherever she went for a reason, for a greater purpose. . . Crazy shit, right?
What’s the one thing you have always wanted to do but didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t? What would happen if you did do it?
If there is someone out there who scared my sister or lied to the police or hid information from my parents. . . then I’d like to tackle that guy. I’d knock him down and slap handcuffs on him. Then I’d say, “Huzzah.” Weren’t expecting that from the guy who had a spiritual epiphany at a rental car agency, were you?
What do you consider are your strengths?
I’m fairly charming, and I’m an awesome student.
What do you consider are your weaknesses?
I can’t finish anything I start.
What is one physical attribute you are proud of?
I have a nice build. I keep myself in shape. Love to walk with my dog.
What one physical attribute would you change?
My hair never lies straight. It drives me nuts. Apparently some girls like that.
What do you consider your special talent?
I’m a quick study. I pick up new ideas fairly quickly.
What do you wish your special talent was?
Can it be a superpower? Like superhuman strength? Never mind that. I think I’d rather be like Sherlock Holmes. If I could look over all the clues my sister left behind and – shazam – figure out where she is, that would be really cool.
What are you most proud of about your life?
Maybe my faith that Emma is okay. It motivates me.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done? Why?
I pissed away a decade of my life going from job to job and partying with half-friends. What a waste.
Describe your ideal mate.
Cute, funny, and willing to believe in the impossible.
What are you most afraid of?
Never finding Emma.
What’s the most important thing in your life? What do you value most?
My family and my dog.
How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?
I’m feeling a little unmoored at the moment. I would love to know my purpose in life. And I do believe I have one. I have that much going for me.
If you could be an animal, what would it be?
That one’s easy. A German shepherd.
Well, thank you, that was one awesome interview.
Thanks for the interview. It’s been fun. A nice distraction. Now I’ve got to get back to studying for my CSI exam.