Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Without Love

I started to write a long-overdue blog post about something completely different than this—about the usual: my life. I'll write that post next time, but not right now.

My former colleague at Modern Maturity magazine, Marcia Forsberg, has been missing since February, and her husband of 39 years has just been arrested on suspicion of murder. The police are searching the Lake Piru campground area in Ventura County, California for her body, based on "incriminating statements" her husband, Rick, made to the detectives. They think he killed her in their home in February and rented a car—rented a car!—to transport her body elsewhere. He then stayed in their Orange County home for the next six months—six months!—and told neighbors that she'd gone to Arizona to visit friends.

We've all seen these stories on the news, on CSI, on Without a Trace, on Law & Order, on Bones, on Mystery. I've never seen this kind of story flash on the screen with the face of someone I know. I'm not processing it.

I watched the bleached-blonde reporter end her story by ominously intoning, "And, neighbors say, Richard Forsberg had recently taken up...fishing," and I thought, "This is some kind of bizarre satire."

Marcia—pronounced "Mar-SEE-ya," because she didn't do things in a typical way—was tall, striking, with big curly hair and a constant conspiratorial smile. She was what you'd probably call touchy-feely, a woman who believed that her experience with breast cancer had taught her invaluable lessons, and who found the good and the humor in most situations.

She and Rick had no children, just each other, and from what Marcia always said they loved it that way. I had the impression of mutual, even slightly obsessive, devotion.

Modern Maturity moved from California to Washington, D.C. in 1996, and our work group broke up. A few of us met for occasional lunches and catch-ups, but I hadn't seen Marcia in years. But I can hear her voice, see her leaning over to me (I was 8 inches shorter) to share an observation or a mild piece of gossip and laughing richly.

Even if the police get answers, they'll never get the answers I want. I don't mean to sound naive, but how does this happen? What goes on in a nearly 40-year marriage between high school sweethearts such that it ends not in divorce, but murder? Who is this man, and where did the guy go whom Marcia loved and trusted?

I'm sorry, Marcia.