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Women Who Stay, 16

The Email

By Suze KayPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 3 min read

Chapter 1... Chapter 15


Back at my desk with a bottle of wine, I listened to the day's conversation and transcribed it. To my chagrin, Janie was right. I'd lost it. I could hear it in the tone of my voice, pitching up and pinching in judgment with each successive question.

Then I reread the transcript from our conversation in the park, and all the conversations before and after, trying to find holes in anything she'd said. Searching for moments where she'd lied to me. I couldn't find them. I flipped through my notebook. I pulled up my timelines and sketched her story alongside them, building a map of cause and effect that spanned decades.

And finally, the last drops of wine gone, I did what I'd been avoiding. I pulled up my final drafts of Women Who Stay and reread them, paying close attention to the profile of Clarissa Piloski, whose husband had been convicted of raping two women and killing one.

Mrs. Piloski says her marriage was ruled by fear. "If I didn't do what he wanted, I knew what I'd get." When asked what that was, she shakes her head and looks away. "Fists, mostly. Sometimes... worse. I learned quickly just to do what he said."

But I remembered the sly, sidelong glance which preceded her look away. I found the transcript of my original interview and reread my leading questions, left on the cutting floor by an editor.

MK: What about your hairs, which were found on Shelley's body?

CP: *Laughter* Oh, those things get everywhere. You know how it is. Probably stuck on him somehow.

MK: What about the other women who came forward? Almost six other women gave reports to the police.

CP: Well, they never reported anything. Not officially. Not before the whole Shelley thing. Just wanted their names on the news, I expect. People are sick.

MK: And the ones who said you had participated in what they called 'aggressive' sexual threesomes?

CP: Hey! He made me do those things. And besides, none of those girls were ever hurt. Not really. Now, are we going to talk about real things, or do you just want to keep rehashing rumors?

I remembered the sick feeling I'd had throughout the interview, the dark thoughts I chased around -- never managing to find purchase in anything she said. It had been my eighth profile for the series. It was the point where I felt myself lose interest in the project.

She visits her husband once a month at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, MA. He is ineligible for parole, and can expect to spend the rest of his life in a cell. For Mrs. Piloski, this is also a life sentence.

"I loved him. I still do. I know what he did to Shelley wasn't right, but he's my husband. I made vows, and I'm going to keep them."

And so she stays.

I cringed. Pat words, little substance. I left my office and went to the kitchen, where, finding there were no more bottles of wine, I pulled a fifth of whiskey from my cupboard instead.

Later, much later, I returned to my computer and I made a bad choice.

Janie, I rread the stories and you're right. You horrible bitch you're right, I can't do it when I don't believe the story. But I don't know if I can do what you said. I don't know if I can makeit good for you because I don't believe you

youre too smart to not have known. how could you let it happen


I sent the email.


Read on to Chapter 17


About the Creator

Suze Kay

Pastry chef by day, insomniac writer by night.

Find here: stories that creep up on you, poems to stumble over, and the weird words I hold them in.

Or, let me catch you at

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Comments (4)

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  • Belle16 days ago

    Uh oh...

  • John Cox30 days ago

    Ahhh. Nothing tears down the walls and brings out the truth like too much alcohol. Very unreporterly behavior. But her integrity sunk her original series, hard to imagine it would any different here. Is it just me, or does she want something she can't have?

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    Oh dear. I wonder if she'll live to regret that. Love the spelling mistakes and typos for realism!

  • Kenny Penn2 months ago

    Oooo and a healthy dose of suspense at the end, fantastic!

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