We don't talk about my grandma. That's all I knew about her for a long time. There were no pictures of her, and she was never brought up. If I hadn't known any better, I would have thought that my mother had just materialized one day, rather than being born of a human woman. When I was fourteen, however, I found out why we don't talk about her. She murdered my grandfather.
By all accounts, my grandfather was a great man. A green beret, Vietnam hero, nuclear physicist, and musician who loved his family more than anything and always put them first. She, my grandma, took him away. This was in 1973.
More recently, out of curiosity (because still no one talks about it) I tried to find news articles about the incident on the Internet. The only item available was the obituary of one of the detectives who had worked on the case.
Last night, I'm not sure why, but I tried again. I guess the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette finally released their archives. There was a large article on the case. And a picture. At first, I thought that the dark, grainy photo was my mother. But the caption underneath told me it was her. My grandma. The evil bitch looked just like my mom. Just like me.
There were details I never knew. How she was charged for extorting her neighbors, how she maintained for six years that my grandfather had committed suicide. How she was apparently flawless on the stand, the picture of innocence.
She was eligible for parole in 1990. I don't know where she would be today, or if she'd still be alive. I don't know if I want to know. It scares me a little bit, to know that she might still be out there.
It seems surreal, like something out of a movie.
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