The police interviewed me about the body I found. I told them I didn't know anything more than what I told them when I called. I told them I wished I could help. Then a journalist got in touch and I told him what I could in the hopes he'd go away. He said he'd email me with updates. I got a ticket out of town and spent the next several days in Portland, just living in a hotel and wandering around.

I avoided my computer because I knew what I'd find. An inbox full of questions and updates and news about the girl I'd found. I hoped they didn't mention me in any of the articles but I knew that was probably too much to ask.

About a week on I finally broke and read it all. She was a kid. I mean, I could tell when I found her, I guess, but the news just brings it home. "Missing teen's body found." She was sixteen. She wanted to help people.

The article just made it sound so clinical. "The remains of a sixteen year-old girl who has been missing for the past month have been found by a local man, authorities say." Remains. Remains are something that an abandoned building has after an earthquake. Not a person who lived and loved and laughed and had hopes and dreams and fears. Not a person with a real story going on.

I got really drunk that night and called up the journalist at home--he was nice enough to give me his cell number in case I thought of any other sordid details, like if I wanted to describe how sick I felt when I found her, or how much I wanted to throw up. Or how for the next several days I felt like everything in the world made no sense, like a girl who just wanted to help people and had bright dreams for the future shouldn't be the one whose body was found by some shiftless wanderer like me.

I don't think he knew who I was, but I called him everything from a talentless hack to a heartless monster. He couldn't tell a true story if he wanted to, I said, because he didn't know how to make it a story about a person and not about a headline. "She deserved so much better than you," I told him, and I hung up.

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