I saw all the headlines about how the mystery of Amelia Earheart may have been solved, but I couldn’t bring myself to read the stories. I preferred my own: that she slipped into a parallel universe and led a sister life, maybe, or that she landed in some utopian island with a manageable brain injury that wiped out her memory and went on to form new, even better ones. Whatever. I just didn’t want to know the truth yet. The narrative around her, for me, sufficed. Because it meant we got to all dream up our own endings.
But then I saw this piece from Gawker, and that bit about the freckle cream, and oh my, how I would now like to know what happened, really for real, not just speculation. I want the details. I want the noises, the wind, the shade of polish on her nails. The rise of the tides. Where her goggles ended up. And maybe that’s why I never wanted to find out in the first place, because there would never, could never, be enough information about it all unless — and even that’s sketchy — there were some kind of play-by-play that didn’t leave out a second of her own inner monologue as the plane went down.
I’ve always favored the little moments and the small details. Why did she wear that cardigan? What was his expression when he made that phone call? Where did she go to buy the milk? The big ones, the big choices, are usually decided far in advance and happen over time, rendering them less shocking, so that when they do occur — when someone moves or gets a new job or buys a car or has a baby — everyone’s already used to the idea of it.
I moved last week and now I’m in a different city, a different state even, with a different person, but those are all decisions I made what feels like a long time ago and just took a while to get here. So now I’m playing with the little details: where should this picture go? Which cabinet should be for mugs? How many ice cube trays do we need?
Where should my goggles end up?