One night in the city

Jenny* was relieved to have finally punched out of her shift. With a spring in her step she headed towards the store’s back door, where she removed her high heels and the day’s weariness. She looked at her plastic watch and smiled–with luck, she could probably beat the late-night traffic and still catch her favorite Koreanovela.

She got off the jeep where the main highway intersected with the street that led to her neighborhood. The streetlamps were always broken, but she knew her way around the narrow pavement. She knew where drunken fights usually broke out, and she was careful to avoid them. She always took the longer walk home.

Nobody knew, however, that she would never get home that night. Not her mother, who always waited for her to arrive before turning in. Not her siblings, whom she had been helping send to school.

Jenny was found in a nearby creek the next afternoon, stabbed and possibly raped. But nobody knew about it, except her family and neighborhood, whose mourning was lost in the din of the city’s restlessness and hardship.

Meanwhile, not many miles away, another girl was found dead under a bridge. Everybody knew about it, because they knew she was missing right away when she had failed to update her Facebook status. Her car would not be found until a little later. It was dented and covered with soot, as if someone had tried to set it on fire.

Her friends took to Facebook to express their grief, and with every comment and like, their mourning grew louder and louder. Justice, they wailed. Justice for their friend–a bright candle snuffed out too soon. She was a manager in a top advertising firm. She had a boyfriend. She had a whole life ahead of her.

The police even set a huge bounty for the capture of her killers, who were then arrested shortly after. Justice at last, the girl’s friends and family thought. And they were glad for the collective public outrage, for the President personally giving a directive for the case, for the CCTV cameras that tracked the girl’s drive home the night she went missing.

Jenny’s mother never knew this other girl, because she had stopped watching the news. She no longer had any reason to stay up late; Jenny would no longer be coming home.

*For everyone who suffers all sorts of adversity, but not fortunate enough to have the voice to make the world listen and care.


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