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September 04, 2019 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019 // The Statement
Managing Statement Editor

Andrea Pérez Balderrama

Deputy Editors

Matthew Harmon

Shannon Ors

Associate Editor

Eli Rallo


Liz Bigham

Kate Glad

Copy Editor

Silas Lee

Photo Editor

Danyel Tharakan

Editor in Chief

Maya Goldman

Managing Editor

Finntan Storer


The scores

The ever-present Arctic wind bearing
down on your crumbling, medieval town
drives people mad. Your hair, once gently
tousled, turns whip-like, dangerous, once
the gale from the North Sea hits the St.
Andrews cliffs, traveling upward, wrap-
ping itself around buildings, pursuing
you. No coat can thwart the wind’s efforts
to flush out your warmth. Its familiar
white noise ranges from a whisper outside
a windowpane to a bloodcurdling shriek,
closing in from all sides. When people fall
from the cliffs, it’s always the wind’s fault.
The wind urges you to get too close — to
peer down at the receding tide. It either
pushes you or taunts you until you find
yourself on the rocks below.
You hope that isn’t what happened to
Fraser, but it’s too soon to know. Police
haven’t found him yet. You’re still cooped
up in your dormitory, St. Salvatore’s,
in the main dining hall, awaiting news.
Refreshing your group chat every five
seconds to make sure you don’t miss the
announcement. You curl over on the
creaking oak bench as if you’re praying to
the screen.
At the end of your bench, a couple
of girls are murmuring, holding fast to
steaming mugs of tea. You try not to lis-
ten to the girls. Their theories are too
grotesque for so early in a missing per-
son’s case. Instead, you turn your atten-
tion to the window next to you — an
imitation stained-glass portrait of some
saint or other, painted hundreds of years
ago, stolen from an older cathedral and
added unceremoniously to a glorified caf-
eteria. The paint mostly looks like murky
browns — dried blood — instead of the full
spectrum of color it probably originally
had. You suppress the urge to scrape it off
with your short, wide fingernails.
The information you’ve been given so
far is sparse: Fraser went out last night
to the only nightclub in town. The sur-
veillance system spotted him walking
towards the Old Course at 11:30 p.m., his
phone pressed to his ear. He didn’t return
to his residence hall last night. The uni-
versity pronounced Fraser missing this
It’s just local police who’re crawl-
ing through the town, the marshes, the
beaches. All morning you’d been dialing

Fraser’s number to no avail, gnawing on
your torn cuticles with every unanswered
ring. It’s nearly evening now, and you’ve
stopped calling.

Your residence hall’s Facebook page
is promoting a community-based search
in collaboration with the local police
in their chartreuse vests. One hundred
other St. Andrews’s residents have indi-
cated they’re joining. The cell phone
looks accusingly at you, in bed, scroll-
ing through social media. Callum’s and
Euan’s names pop up first on the list of
searchers. Seeing the faint outlines of
your face reflected in the blue light of the
screen and feeling like a fraud, you click
the “Going” button at the top of the page.
Your stomach turns, and your mind cal-
culates the space between you and the
nearest toilet, though you haven’t eaten
all morning.
You twist your body underneath your
two goose down comforters. The wind
passes right through St. Salvatore’s, which
was built in the 1930s, but shows no indi-
cation of repair work or renovations in the
eight decades since. The window panes
at the head of your and your roommate’s
twin beds rattle with the Arctic gales, a
sound you still haven’t grown accustomed
to. When it wakes you up at night, your
first thoughts, drunk with sleep, are that
masked robbers are banging on the glass,
trying to break into the room.
Your prick of a roommate isn’t here,
though. Euan, the first-year star of the
University’s rugby team, rarely is. The
students, both boys and girls, but mostly
the American girls, oddly enough, can’t
get enough of Euan. You routinely dismiss
his inexplicably tanned, broad-shoul-
dered confidence as a kind of dickishness,
but somewhere you know he isn’t that
awful. He’s just smug about getting girls.
Unfortunately, and rather comically, you
have the opposite luck. The only time a
girl appears interested in you is when
you mention Euan is your roommate.
More often than not, you get addressed
by strangers around campus as Jamie,
Euan’s roommate. Your claim to fame.
The search party’s scheduled to meet at
noon outside the nightclub/coffee house/
student organization facilities that com-

pose the St. Andrews Union. You shift to
look at the school-issued clock on your
bedside table. It’s 11:00 a.m.
Callum is already out by the Union
when you arrive, clutching a large black
coffee and shivering. He reminds you of
a willow — sinewy, tall, and in constant
motion. His eyes dart from person to per-
son in the crowd, no doubt feeling anxious
at the thought of being unsociable. You
decide not to startle him this time.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Jamie. I thought
you weren’t coming,” Callum says when
he catches sight of you, his black hair and
dark eyes severe against the pallor of his
“Right, well, this is important,” you
reply, eyes downturned and voice low.
“Are you hungover, mate?” Callum asks
you, a smile tugging at his lips.
“Not even close, you wank stain.”
You try to stand a little straighter,
unfurrowing your brow, worried that you
look disheveled in your Barbour jacket
and sweatpants. Callum’s height and
angular limbs only magnify your slight
baby fat, how you’re only taller than the
short girls in your classes.
You hear Euan’s booming voice some-
where to your left, comforting one of the
pretty field hockey girls who’s crying soft-
ly. Despite the tears, she still looks beau-
tiful with her long blonde hair and full
lips. His arm around her, Euan’s pulled
her close, as if he’s protecting her. Several
other girls in the crowd eye her greedily.
“Isn’t that Anna?” Callum asks, gestur-
ing towards Euan and the girl.
“What?” you pretend to just now see
her. “Oh, yeah. It is.”
Callum raises his eyebrows at you, but
you look away, trying to appear unboth-
“This isn’t about Anna.”

The search party ended with mud and
sand and salt from the North Sea caked
all over everybody’s shoes. Your favorite
green wellies kept getting lodged in the
marshy wasteland. After falling twice,
you’ve still got a yellowed bruise over your
Night descended quickly, it being mid-
March. Dusk was gathering its fragments
of light long before dinnertime, and the

search party was forced to retreat into
the dark wooden sanctuaries of pubs. Not
even the moon brought any relief from
the impenetrable dark. You’re so far up
the coast it’s possible for the Northern
Lights to touch your ruined citadel of a
town, briefly, before disappearing behind
the heavy clouds of Scotland for months.
You’ve never seen them, but you know
some nights they’re up there, dancing
above the claustrophobic sky.
Scotland Yard quickly stepped in and
took over the investigation after the
unsuccessful search. The citizens of St.
Andrews apparently hindering the efforts
of the professionals, they were asked to
stop organizing. The day after Fraser’s
disappearance, construction crews ini-
tiated their scheduled excavation of the
centuries-old leaky storm drains. Today
Scotland Yard’s ordering the crews to dig
up the old drains, freshly-filled with con-
crete, on the possibility that Fraser might
have drunkenly fallen into one of them.
You know if that’s true, he would’ve been
buried alive. You try not to think about
You’ve plunked yourself down in the
alleged site of Will and Kate’s first date,
a coffee shop-turned-reliquary dedicated
to the budding romance of the two roy-
als. A sun-bleached poster in the window
boasts their smiling faces, a cartoonish
red heart drawn between them. It’s now
become a sort of campy pilgrimage site
for obnoxious royal superfans, but the
tea’s still cheap and decent, so you haven’t
written the place off entirely. Mindlessly,
you scroll through Fraser’s old Instagram
posts and neglect your too-hot black tea.
“Miss u,” “hope you’re safe,” and “come
home” litter the comment sections below
each picture.
You pause at the picture from the St.
Andrews Charity Fashion Show show
last month. Fraser and Euan, along with
a host of other good-looking students,
served as models for the annual event.
Both Callum and you bought the over-
priced tickets to ogle at and mock the dis-
play of extravagance: the designer gowns,
the expensive champagne, the exclusive
seats by the runway selling for upwards of
300 quid. In reality, though, you suspect
you just wanted to see Fraser up close. It
didn’t hurt that he was shirtless for the



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