Sheriff Carmichael had known them ever since they first became Charlie and Maria. Ever since the day Charlie stormed into their college dorm room, sweaty palmed, raving about this beautiful red head he met in the courtyard. How the sun illuminated her as he ran across the field on his way to English Lit that to pass her by without a word would have been a crime. He had gone on and on about her smile, one curvy line facing upward and a cold heart just melted away. Sheriff Carmichael didn’t get it at first, insisting Charlie was crazy for wrapping himself around this single soul he knew nothing about.
“How do you even know she’s the one?”
“I just know,” Chuck would always say. But Sheriff Carmichael never understood, until the day he met Maria.
She was everything Charlie said she was. One look from her and Sheriff Carmichael was jealous he hadn’t met her first. He watched them interact with each other that night, the electrifying touches, the sparks in their eyes, the laughter that filled the room and he knew his best bud found the love of his life.
He was the best man at their wedding, godfather to their child, but as he looked at her hanging from the ceiling in the exact spot where he found Charlie just seven years earlier, a part of Sheriff Carmichael wished he had never known them because not knowing them may have shielded him from the pain he was feeling as another piece of his heart broke off.
“Sheriff,” Deputy Samuels called to him. Sheriff Carmichael looked at Maria, not seeing the aged woman before him, but the young girl whose smile brightened his day.
“Sheriff, the coroner’s done. What would you like me to do with the body?”
“Cut her down,” he said, wiping the single tear that had slid down his face.