I think that at some point. every one of us would like to throw off our old life and start over. Could you leave everything that you know behind and start life anew?
Eloise had been married to Hunter for 8 years. Hunter Baxter was a car sales manager, Eloise Baker Baxter was a para-legal at Lane, Crockett and Associates. Most people would say that the Baxters were living a charmed life, meaning that they were doing well financially. They had two healthy children, Chase who was 8 and Tiffany, who was 6. They took a vacation every year, usually to some place like Disneyland, or the Grand Canyon. They’ve been on two Caribbean cruises, and one to Alaska. Hunter is a dedicated husband, and openly honest with Eloise. After the birth of Tiffany, Eloise had a bout of depression. Hunter hired an Au pair to take care of the children, while Eloise was recuperating. Hunter wouldn’t tell Eloise how much he paid for the Au pair, but her sister thought that it was around $36,000 for the six months stay.
The day Eloise’s purse and keys were sitting on the floorboard in her empty car at her workplace, it was truly a mystery. Mrs. Baxter was last seen pulling her car into the office parking lot on Thursday, June 9, 2005, by the Parking Storage video cameras. The local police department began an investigation of Eloise Baxter’s disappearance the day that she vanished, suspending the normal twenty-four hour waiting rule. Likely due to Hunter’s celebrity. The dealership he works for, had him do many of the corny commercials that aired on the local TV stations. The detectives questioned Hunter Baxter at length, asking how was their relationship, had they received any death threats, ransom notes, and could she possibly have a relationship outside of their marriage. Every piece of evidence was combed through, they talked to the other family members, they talked to all of her friends and co-workers. There was no trace of her. Online forensics was in its infancy, yet all of the computers she had contact with were scoured trying to find some clue of what happened to her on that spring day. The security video shows the normal parking lot clientage entering and leaving the lot, it is possible that someone could have been lying in wait and accosted her. But being on foot, they would have to know when and where to approach her, but they would have no way to know if someone could have seen them. It could be done, with a moderate risk of being seen. The hours turned to days, the days turned into weeks. After a few months, the hope turned into a desire to bring the body of Eloise Baker Baxter home for burial.
Hunter Baxter, waited for the return of his wife. Year after year, he turned down offers from his friends to meet women that they thought would make a suitable companion for him. Only a one of his friends, just came right out and said that he thought Eloise was dead. But by playing match-maker, the others had said it also, just in a more subtle way. Hunter knew that she was gone, but not a dead body like the others thought. He was the lead suspect in his wife’s disappearance, and the police were sure that they let him know that. Checking and re-checking his alibi, over the months, every time sending a different officer to question him. He had told them that he was in a sales meeting the morning that she disappeared, and that he had nothing to do with the incident.
Mercedes Perez took her time card from the slot which held it. She joined the line of other employees as they waited to punch out from a long hot day’s work at National Linen Co. This had been her job for the last two years. The work was hard, sweaty. and dirty. But it was somehow fulfilling. It left her with the feeling of earning her money. God knows that she and the others did earn their pay. Mercedes had paid a “coyote” $8000 dollars for her documents, three years ago. They had stood up to the scrutiny of the I.N.S. numerous times. Her documents where not counterfeits like many other illegal immigrants, there was once a little girl named Mercedes Perez from Del Rio, Texas. But the real Mercedes died as a teenager in an auto accident. The coyote had bought her documents from a burglar five-years ago. Mercedes Perez used the purloined papers to get a fresh drivers license, two years ago.
When she came to Corpus Christi life was chaotic for the first year, she barely spoke the language (English) and it seemed that everyone she met was trying to take advantage of her. She worked hard to keep her identity a secret from everyone. She got a subscription from her home town newspaper, to keep up on the news of her alter ego’s disappearance. She had been planning on shedding her old life for three years, since 2002. Most people would say that she was a selfish bitch to leave her husband and children in the way that she did. Most people would have killed to have the kind of life that she had shedded like an old snake skin. Most people would say she was a fool for leaving behind a good loving man like Hunter, to toil at a laundry cleaning others filthy laundry, their towels that they had used like toilet paper, and their pissy cum-stained sheets. And God forbid leaving her children without a mother. That was a sin worse than any that the Devil had ever commited. Most of the people who would say all these things, don’t know the feeling of being trapped with no other way out. She could have said no to Hunter the night that she got pregnant with Chase. or she could have gotten an abortion when she found out that she was with child. She could have said no when Hunter wanted to do the “right” thing and get married, she could have had her tubes tied after she bore Chase. She could have given both of the children up for adoption after she had them. But she didn’t do any of these things because in each situation, she felt as though she didn’t have a choice. Because in everything she did, she felt it was the right thing to do, because that’s how she was raised. It was a feeling of guilt, even though you were really making up your own mind as an adult should. But there was that nagging karma that seemed to creep over you after you have reached your decision, filling you with doubt and you question yourself.
She could not be sure when the resentment inside her started. It started with little things, little things that on the surface shouldn’t have mattered. She recalled going to a PTA meeting at Chase’s school one day. There were many other parents present, and as they talked about their children’s progress in school. She found that she was not thrilled about her child’s accomplishments as the other mothers at the gathering. A few days later, she was brought a new young attorney by the firm, to train as an associate in the firm that she worked for. The young lady was five years her junior, and on her way to a successful career. Having to defer to her made her feel old, and having to say “Yes Ma’am” to to kid went right through her. She thought that she should be clerking for me instead of me working for her. It made her think about what she had lost by giving in to the parochial thinking she had been taught was right thing to do. It might have been right, but not right for her. All of her life she had dreamed of being a lawyer like her father. She was in her second year in college when she got pregnant, despite the precautions that they took. Her upbringing as a devout Catholic, had put rest, any ideas of getting an abortion. Simply put, it was cold-blooded murder. Divorce was another no-no in the faith, and even though it was allowed n some instances, it would still cause you harm in the eyes of God. Suicide, was also out of the question, not because it was against the faith, but because Eloise did not want to die. Eloise, she felt trapped. Where most people feel as if their lives, were like a car going down the street of life, she felt as if she was a frightened child strapped in the seat of the worlds most terrifying roller-coaster, with the Devil acting as the brakeman.