Yesterday I found out that the manager at the Starbucks I go to every weekday morning murdered his ex-girlfriend and then killed himself on Friday.
This is not something that my mind accepts. I accept that people kill each other and that people commit suicide. I just cannot accept that someone who I saw almost every morning for a year would do something like that, and that I would have no inkling that they could be capable of such a thing.
What I knew about him was that he was a salesman's saleman. He was a bit intense. He smoked cigarettes. He had tattoos. He rode a motorcycle. He was polite. He knew what I wanted before I asked for it. He participated in fund-raisers. He always thanked me and told me to have a good day. He always apologized for a long wait. He made a great grande skinny vanilla latte.
Now, it seems, I also know that he shot a young mother three times before turning the gun on himself. My brain has created a film of what happened, but I can't reconcile it with the image of the man who always smiled politely and asked "Your usual?"
Walking to get my coffee this morning, I passed the table with the ashtray on it, where I would often see him smoking, and a chill ran up my spine. If his ghost is lurking somewhere, this is where it is. I entered the shop and it was empty, save three police officers sitting in a corner. That's unusual for a Tuesday morning. I chatted with some of the employees, who are the regular crew that have apparently returned to work. I mentioned that I noticed the regular employees were out yesterday, and one quipped,"We were abducted by aliens." I smiled.
That is probably what it feels like, though. To work for someone who commits murder and then kills himself. It must feel surreal, and like a betrayal, in a way, and shocking, and awfully sad.