Read September 2, 2013

Outlander  - Diana Gabaldon

RADIO ANNOUNCER - Welcome to tonight's episode of "the British Broadcasting Corporation presents Vox Populi". As you know, we created this program as a way to begin healing our community after the tragedy of the war years. Members of our listening audience can apply for air time to speak about a matter that is personally meaningful to them, but also of broader interest to the public.

Frank Randall is here to talk to us about his missing wife, Claire Randall (née Beauchamp). (The announcer describes Claire and the circumstances of her disappearance). Claire has been gone nine months now, missing without a trace. The local police are trying their best, and Frank has remained in the area to assist with the search, but there are no leads and no answers. Frank Randall, ladies and gentlemen!

FRANK - Claire...my lovely wife...I came here tonight to send you a message. I believe that somewhere out there, you are alive, and that you are seeking, yearning for, more than I can give you. I love you, but this horrific journey...well, it's led me to a new understanding of myself. All my life, I have been a cold, scientific, factual scholar of history - my family roots and the roots of this society. I've never thought about my future, only my past. I've clung to names and dates and charts when I should have been clinging to you, my love, my life, my world.

I'm not a demonstrative man. I haven't held you late at night and told you my innermost thoughts...but (he struggles to contain himself) I do love you. In my own way, I do. I'm just not able to - no, I haven't ALLOWED myself to - break free of my self-constructed chains. I need to feel more. I need to reach out more. I need to BE more. And maybe that's what you're trying to tell me by staying away.

The gossip in the village is breaking my heart. They say, love, that you don't intend to be found. They even say you've found a new time, a new place, a new...they say strange things happen in these parts and perhaps this was your opportunity to divest yourself of all your troubles, to start anew. You seemed so irritable in the days before your disappearance. You've always been so strong - fiercely independent she is, my Claire. Perhaps you decided in those moments to forge another path. But Not telling me of your plans was senseless and cruel. It was uncharacteristic, which makes me believe you coukd not have wanted this outcome. Maybe I'm a fool. Maybe you planned this all along. How could you? Why??? I'm angry, desperate and confused, so I'm not my most rational self these days.

I don't know what to think, Claire. I do know the war was very hard on both of us. We were never truly bonded to each other before we were parted. Eight years of marriage, chronologically. But in truth, we'd only just begun to feel our way out of the darkness when you left or were taken. I hope it's the latter. Not that I'd ever want you harmed, my sweet, but the agony of knowing you may have chosen this is more than I can bear. So come home, love. Find your way back to me. Choose a new beginning. Or send me a sign that I must go on alone.

If anyone knows where Claire can be located, or knows anything at all that will lead me to her, please call (phone number). We've set up a special hotline and established a Bring Claire Home fund for her safe return. Please help me reunite with my beloved. (He repeats the description and timeline of events the announcer gave earlier) Claire, if you're listening tonight...I'm waiting. Only you hold in your heart the answer to my prayers, or the truth that will set you free.

RADIO ANNOUNCER - That was Frank Randall, the husband of Claire Randall (née Beauchamp), who was last seen on (date). Thank you, Frank, for your moving words. I'm sure our listeners join me in wishing for a swift and happy ending to this unfortunate time of grief. Next week, Anne Munroe will talk to us about the plight of wounded veterans such as her husband, Charlie.