I remember that night when you fell through the ice. You were so sure of yourself. You were such a fool.
“No way I’m gonna fall through,” you shouted back at me as I pleaded with you to come back. “This ice is at least six inches thick, you chicken!”
The instant you called me “chicken,” cracking ice split the night like a rifle shot. The terror in your eyes at that moment will forever be etched in my memory. But my inaction at the moment you needed me most runs deeper in me even than your fear. I couldn’t bring myself to even reach for the rope you’d carried with you at my insistence. If I had, maybe I could have pulled you back out of the frozen river. But I just stood there, paralyzed with fear, as you slipped off the shattered ice into the water.
I’ve never told anyone what happened. Your disappearance has remained a mystery for all these years. By the time they noticed you were gone, the cracks in the river had healed over with new ice. They never found you. I suppose you floated away and ended up in the Atlantic. Food for sharks and the like. But today, I’m going to solve that mystery. I’m going to walk into the Vaudeville, New York police station and explain what happened to you on Christmas Eve, 1932. I’m going to take responsibility for my silence.