A Different Blue Page 60

“You would have to know Jimmy. He definitely walked to a different drum. He didn't live like other people lived, and he definitely didn't respond they way someone else would have responded. He was kind, but he was also reserved . . . and very . . . quiet and..and unassuming. I can just picture him, looking around, trying to figure out what in the world to do with this child, but not saying a word. I swear, he wouldn't have spoken up in an emergency room if he had a hatchet in his head.”

Andy Moody nodded, listening, urging me on.

I paused, the memory poised at the edges of my mind . . . but hazy. I didn't really know if it was an actual memory, or if I had just pictured it so many times that it felt that way. “Anyway, eventually a woman came for the little girl. Jimmy thought maybe the little girl was lost and had climbed into the booth on her own. But from the way the woman acted, she had laid the little girl down in the booth on purpose, and let her sleep while she went off and played the slots.”

Detective Bowles shook his head in disbelief. “And this little girl was you.”

“Yes,” I said frankly. I proceeded to tell him what Cheryl had told me, about Jimmy's belief that my mother had followed him back to his trailer and about the faulty passenger side door. I told him how I'd been found the next morning, how Jimmy had recognized me, and how he hadn't known what to do. “A few days later, the cops showed up at the truckstop, showing a flyer with the woman's face on it, asking about a child. The owner of the truckstop, who had purchased some carvings from Jimmy and was fairly friendly with him, told him the woman had turned up dead at local hotel. The cops had come around because the woman was wearing a T-shirt with the truckstop logo on it. At that point, Jimmy moved on and took me with him.”

By this point, Detective Bowles was scribbling wildly, his eyes darting up from his paper to my face as I spoke.

“Bottom line, my mother abandoned me at a truckstop in Reno. She turned up dead in a motel in the area a few days later. With that information, I wondered if you could find out who she was.”

Detective Bowles stared at me, his jaw working, blinking rapidly. He didn't have a great poker face. “Do you know approximately when this would have been?”

“August. I always thought my birthday was August 2. But how would Jimmy have known when my birthday was? I think he just marked my birthday by the day my mother abandoned me. I can't be sure of that, but it's my best guess. Cheryl said she thought I was about two when this all went down. It would have to have been 1992 or 1993. Does that help?”

“Yeah. It does. August of '92 or '93. Hotel room. Missing child. T-shirt with a truckstop logo. What else can you give me? Anything at all?”

“She was young . . . maybe younger than I am now.” The thought had struck me often in the last few months. “She was Native American, like Jimmy. I think that might be one of the reasons she left me with him.” Maybe I was kidding myself. But it was something to hold onto.

“I'm gonna make some calls. This case was obviously never solved because they never found you, did they? Reno P.D. will have to hit the archives, do a little digging, might take a few days, but we'll find out who your mother was, Blue.”

“And find out who I am.”

Detective Bowles stared at me and then slowly shook his head, as if the realization was staggering. “Yeah. You poor girl. And we'll find out who you are, too.”

“I'm going to Reno.”


“Reno, Nevada.” Wilson was British. Maybe he didn't know where Reno was. “It's in Nevada, but it's way up North. It's about an eight hour drive. I could fly, but I'm too far along for that to be safe. I don't even know it they'd let me on a plane.”

“Why Reno?”

“I went to the police department on Monday.”

Wilson's eyes widened and he was very still.

“I told them everything I knew . . . about myself, about my mother . . . about Jimmy.” I felt oddly like crying. I hadn't felt that way when I spoke with Detective Bowles on Monday. But he had called me back this morning. And he had been excited. And I had a feeling that the life I was trying to build for myself was going to unravel yet again.

“The Detective who I spoke with . . . he says there was a woman who was found dead in a hotel room in Reno in 1993. This woman apparently had a child. The child was never found. The details match up with what Cheryl told me. They want me to come to Reno, give a DNA sample, and see if I'm the missing child.”

“They will be able to tell you that?” Wilson sounded as stunned as I felt.

“Not right away. Apparently, when they realized there was a child unaccounted for, they took a DNA sample from the woman and it's in some national database.”

“How soon will they know?”

“Months. It isn't like TV, I guess. Detective Bowles said he's had to wait a year for DNA results before, but he thinks this will be a priority, so it shouldn't be that long.”

Wilson huffed out. “Well, the sooner you get up there and give them a sample, the sooner you'll know, yeah?”

“Yeah.” I felt queasy.

“I'll come with you.”

“You will?” I was surprised and oddly touched.

“You can't go alone. Not when you're this close.”

“I've got two weeks.”

Wilson waved that away and whipped his cell phone out, making arrangements for a substitute for Thursday and Friday as well as reservations at a Reno hotel, all in a matter of minutes.

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