Dreaming of Warienna Wright

Amanda Gomez

Growing up, my best friend’s mom told us stories

about wife-beating husbands, strangled corpses,

and child abductions. It didn’t help much either

her husband was a cop. He kept her up to date

with the latest crime patterns in the area: Always

have your keys in hand when walking to the car

she’d say. Or If you’re in a bad part of town stopped

at a red light, don’t wait for it to turn green.

Just drive through. You’re a sitting duck if not.

But the craziest advice was when she told us

that if a man ever wrangled us into his car, to rip off

a button, assuming we had one, and put in the ignition

that way the key wouldn’t fit, assuming we wouldn’t be

tied up or locked in the trunk, assuming the button fit the slot.

So naturally, when I left home I binge-watched shows

like Law and Order:SVU and Snapped. One night,

lying on the couch at home, I caught a 60 minutes episode

about a Tinder date gone wrong. Warienna Wright,

a girl my age, was trapped on the 14th floor balcony.

Trying to escape her date, she attempted to climb

over the rail. Reach the neighbor below. But drunk,

she slipped and fell. Technically, yes, he didn’t kill her,

but if that’s the last resort to safety, it might as well

be murder. The best part: he recorded the entire night:

his phone tucked in his chest pocket. When asked

by the reporter why he would to do such a thing, he said:

I can’t remember what happens when I drink. I was protecting

myself in case she made a false claim of rape. What

he doesn’t say: he gave her a red necklace with his hands.

When her body reached the morgue, they found a snip

of her jeans lodged in her skull: evidence her body bent

in half, as if she hugged herself mid-air to reach

the safest place she could before death.