Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Unsolved Mystery

We didn't have a lot of friends when we lived in up-state New York (in the early 1990's), so when we met Alan and Sharon, who had young kids (like we did) and they wanted to hang out with us, we welcomed the friendship. We had met through friends and had had a couple of barbecues together with a small group of parents. Sharon was vivacious flirt, a gourmet cook who loved to entertain and have fun. (I can still hear her laugh and her playful tone of voice.) Alan was the calmer, more feet-on-the-ground half of the relationship, with a good sense of humor, always quick to attend to the kids' needs. Although Sharon loved her kids, she was more of their playmate, while Alan was the caregiver. He was the stay-at-home dad who worked part-time on the side, while Sharon worked outside the home full-time.

We enjoyed our new friends but led busy lives. When Sharon and Alan began to call us to invite us to gatherings without the other friends, we declined a couple of times, and I once commented to Mr.4444 that they were very persistent. Mr.4444, ever the comedian, replied,

"Maybe they want to 'swing' with us."

"Very funny," I replied, and dismissed it as ridiculous. After that, every time we saw Alan and Sharon, Mr.4444 would raise his eyebrows (with a knowing look) making me laugh at our inside joke.

One weekend, on a quick trip to the store together, Sharon and I were talking about this-and- that, and I decided to let her in on our little joke. I told her about my conversation with Mr.4444 and asked, "Can you believe he suggested that you might want to swing with us?!" I expected a perplexed look and a good, loud laugh. What I got....

"Well, I don't know....I'd have to think about it."

"What?! No! Sharon, he was only kidding! Oh my God. Knock it off!" (Laugh, laugh, nervous laugh.) I could not get back to the house fast enough. Thankfully, the subject was dropped.

After that, we declined more invitations, and our relationship cooled right off. Over time, Alan and I started to get together with the kids now and then, but as couples, we floated away from each other. Eventually, in 1995, we moved away, but we kept in touch with Alan and were saddened to learn that he and Sharon were going through an ugly divorce. She had revealed a very promiscuous double life she had been leading, and that was enough for Alan. He planned to get full custody of the kids, and we hoped he did, as he had always been an exceptional father, and we knew the kids would need the structure and stability he would provide.

The divorce was not pretty, and before it could be finalized, in December 2001, Sharon disappeared. She hasn't been seen or heard from since, though her mini-van was found in a motel parking lot near her home. Police found "a substantial amount of blood, but no evidence of foul play" in the van. Alan was interviewed but not charged with anything. The case basically went cold then and has remained unsolved.

Pretty bizarre, huh?

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