Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2012
Winter stopped hiding Tricia Farni on Good Friday.
A truck driver, anxious to shave forty minutes off his commute, ventured across the shallow section of the Birch River used as an ice bridge all winter. His truck plunged into the frigid water, and as rescuers worked to save him and his semi, Tricia’s body floated to the surface.
She’d been missing since the incident in the loft six months ago. But honestly, she didn’t come to mind when I heard that a girl’s body had been found. I was that sure she was alive somewhere, making someone else’s life miserable. Maybe she was shacking up with some drug dealer, or hooking her way across the state, whatever. But she was definitely alive.
Easter morning that changed.
“The body of seventeen-year-old Tricia Farni was pulled from the Birch River Friday night. A junior at Chance High School, Tricia disappeared October 6 after leaving a Homecoming party at Birch Hill. Police believe her body has been in the water since the night she disappeared.”
I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. Tricia was a lot of things, a drug addict, a bitch, a freak, but dead? No. She was a survivor. Something—the only thing—I admired about her. I stared at my clock radio, disbelieving the news reporter. Ninety percent talk, AM 760 was supposed to provide solace from my own wrecked life that weekend. I thought all those old songs with their sha-la-la-las and da-doo-run-runs couldn’t possibly trigger any painful memories. I guess when a dead girl is found in Birch, Alaska, and you were the last to see her alive, even AM 760 can’t save you from bad memories.