November 11, 2008

Maria's Last Song

Posted by Judi Lynn Lake at 23:08
It was mid-morning and Maggie and her husband, Howie, were in the kitchen eagerly preparing the food for their annual Forth of July bar-b-que.

While meticulously carving out the watermelon for her signature fruit salad, Maggie sternly makes an appeal to her husband. “How’, I want you to behave today; Maria is bringing over that nice new boy and I don’t want you, or anyone else, to scare him away especially after the last disastrous relationship she just ended."

Stunned, Howie responds, “You think I’d embarrass our Maria? I can’t believe you! I’m just happy she kicked that other guy out on his a—“

“I get it, dear! Oh, babe one more thing?"

Glancing at his attractive wife, Howie impulsively shuts her up with a passionate kiss on her mouth. As if on cue, their youngest daughter, Becky, interrupts their romantic interlude and beckons them to the phone.

Without looking at either of her parents, a disgusted Becky quickly leaves the kitchen while muttering, “You guys are so gross!"

Within minutes, a troubled Howie hangs up the phone.

“Everything alright?" Maggie asks.

“Yeah, I guess. Sam has been trying to contact Maria for the past three hours and she’s not answering the door or phone. I think I’m going to go to her place and check in on her."

“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that dear, she’s probably soaking in a nice bubble bath and making herself pretty. Hey, if you’re going that way, I bought her a bottle of Channel No. 5 perfume — can you please give it to her?"

Taking his wife in his arms once again, Howie looks deeply in her eyes and says, “Have I told you lately how much I love you?"

Maggie places her arms around her husband’s neck and, in a sexy whisper, responds, “No, Mr. Botti, I don’t believe you have but if you hang around, you may tell me all you want tonight after everyone leaves."


“C’mon Maggie, outa the kitchen — everyone’s here already!"

“Okay, Lorraine, I’m just checking the ribs; I’ll be out in a few minutes."

While Maggie pours the last of the barbeque sauce on the ribs, she glances at the clock and wonders why Howie hasn’t come home from Maria’s yet. In a moment of panic, she calls his cell phone one last time.


“Who’s this?" Maggie asks.

“It’s Sam. This Mrs. Botti?"

“Yes, Sam, it is — what’s going on? I have a houseful of guests but no husband here to help me."

“Mrs. B—“


“Howie? What’s going on? Where are you? Is everything alright?"

In a shaky voice, her husband replies, “No, Maggie, everything is not alright. Our girl’s —."

Inherently, Maggie interrupts her husband, “Where are you?"


“Don’t go anywhere—I’ll be right there."

Although her granddaughter lives only seven blocks away, each city block seems a mile long. Desperately sensing danger, Maggie runs the entire distance while pushing everyone in sight out of her way.

At long last, she breathlessly arrives at her granddaughter’s apartment building and is immediately terror-stricken when she spies policemen and an EMT crew entering the front lobby.

Once inside the apartment building, an agitated Maggie opts for the stairs instead of the crowded elevator and hastens up the entire fourteen floors until she reaches Maria’s apartment. Similar to a tigress protecting her own, she forcibly pushes her way through the crowded open door and looks for her Maria. Oblivious to the crime scene tape and everyone around her, she follows the bloodstained path on the plush white carpet straight to the bathtub and bellows out a scream that could be heard throughout Manhattan.

Sometime in the early morning, Maria’s ex-boyfriend, Tom, who is bipolar and overcome with jealously, sneaks into her apartment and slits her throat. An aspiring songwriter, Tom writes his final love song in Maria’s own blood entitled, “Maria’s Last Song."


As I pen this true account, my heart aches for the senseless, tragic ending of an extraordinary young woman and her family. How does one comfort those who have experienced such violence?

What words of wisdom console?

Right now, I know of none.

A woman of faith, I know of no prayer, no advice nor any acts of kindness that will console this grieving family. I choose silence and cry with them and allow them to “feel" their pain.

Silently, I fervently pray to the Lord to bestow his healing love upon this grieving family.

I am ashamed that my compassion does not extend toward the murderer. I do not understand mental illness but I do understand that many violent crimes are committed with attorney’s pleading the insanity defense.

What does this mean? Sadly, I seek no literal meanings at this time. I can only see a senseless crime that was viciously violent.

Did Tom not take his meds? I don’t know, but I do know that Tom is a heavy pot smoker and likes to snort an occasional line or two of coke. Any connection?

Maybe. I don’t do drugs so I don’t know.

At the request of a friend, I try to seek answers in the Bible.

The terms “bipolar" or “manic depression" refer to a condition described as “a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. It is diagnosed based upon particular characteristics. The Bible does not address the issue of medical treatment for this condition. However, the Bible does provide accounts of those individuals that exhibited bipolar characteristics. The Bible also provides instructions for dealing with many of the characteristics. Typical characteristics associated with bipolar are considered either manic or depressive.

Psychology considers bipolar to be a disorder of the brain. Without debating the accuracy of that statement, one should still conclude that regardless of the affliction that might be upon the physical brain, there are certain responsibilities placed upon an individual to choose what things will be the focus of attention.

I believe that we all have the indwelling ability to be either good or bad. I also believe that living a righteous life is a choice.

Tom made his choice when he committed murder.

In sadness, I am not ready to pray for Tom yet, but perhaps someone else is.

©2008 Judi Lake. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.


Judi Lynn Lake has kept up with leading edge business trends throughout her varied and successful career. She had already had her "15 minutes of fame" over and over again before starting her family. Judi and her family now reside in South Carolina, but, having been born and raised on Long Island, NY, it is clearly evident that she will always be a "New Yorker." Today, she successfully runs her own advertising agency which handles everything from logos, branding and package design while she continues to work closely with self-published authors from design to promotion. For more information, visit

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Life As It Happens Copyright 2009 Judi Lynn Lake. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Image by Tadpole's Notez