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May 22, 2007

When Mom Has a Secret

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It’s 11 o’clock at night, hours after my visit with Sophia at the family home. In my hotel room, I log on to my computer. I'm surprised to find an e-mail from her. In a heated, 17-line message, she says she wants nothing more to do with the article. It's an emotional outpouring, and she sounds angry and paranoid — convinced I will distort her version of events. It's a different person from the free-spirited vocalist I met at Rossi's Blue Star.

I wonder why she has decided to tell me this now. She'd known for weeks about the story; my business card was tacked up on her bulletin board.

Fred, too, retreated after our meeting in the diner, though in less explosive terms, expressing mixed feelings about the "tough questions" I'd asked. "Sara would express caution for sure — if not be outright chagrined," he wrote in an e-mail. "Thanks for dinner?"

Via e-mail, I ask Emily if I can see her again. She wrote back this: "We, as a family, have experienced a deep hardship and sadness with our mother being away from us. About meeting with you on Sunday, I will have to see if I feel up to it on that day. I have your cell phone."

She never called.

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