It has been years. Tiffany Alice Morrison has become a part of us all by now.
In the beginning when my carpool partner, Pierre and I drove by this signboard that stands by the side of the Route-132 on our way to work, it had only the part about her disappearance on it. Then, one day (it was just after the spring thaw of 2010), Pierre was on the passenger side and instead of catching his usual snooze while I drove, he was looking out at the countryside, when he suddenly exclaimed,” Sacrament! L’ont trouvée!”. (F–kin hell, they found her!)
When Pierre drew my attention, I slowed down enough to catch a fleeting glance – the date of discovery of her remains had been added on to the signboard.
We drove through Kahnawake that afternoon and crossed the Mercier, took the twennie all the way home – a good hour’s drive – in silence. It seemed as if something very dear had been suddenly yanked away from us.
Tiffany’s skeletal remains were found in a thickly wooded area on the South Shore, right next to the Mercier Bridge, by a construction worker who had been working on the bridge. She had suffered heavy blunt force trauma all over and had telltale signs of violent sexual assault.
The story is that she had left home to attend a party at a La Salle bar, from where she caught a cab to get back home. Investigations revealed that the cab had another passenger – a man whom Tiffany knew vaguely and who also happened to be going back to the Kahnawake reserve.
The man was traced and his story was that he was dropped off first and therefore had no clue where the cab took Tiffany. End of story. The cab simply disappeared off the face of the earth.
Meanwhile, ten years have gone by since this signboard has been up. We pass it every day. It is a stark reminder of just how barbaric we humans can be toward one another, more specifically – men…toward women. The First Nations Reserve of Kahnawake have decided not to take down the signboard until the man who did this is apprehended, which is exactly how it should be. Given the sorry way that Canada’s indigenous peoples have been treated by the establishment through the past two centuries, no one is holding his breath over this.
It is a curse – to be a woman, a species that gives birth to all of us and nurtures us till we are able to stand up on our own. Tiffany was a mother too, of a four-year old girl and her lovely young face with that impish sideways glance, has grown into a person within all of us, even those who have never met her.
And now, against a bleak wintry landscape, there is our Tiffany, our dear dear Tiffany, still smiling that impish smile. She will always be there for us, a message from the Almighty so eternal that we never can remember it – that life is precious and we must live it a day at a time and we must cherish those that we care about as if we shall never see them again, after today.
Tiffany Alice Morrison (Photo courtesy:CBC.ca)