Trials and Tribulations


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1. The truth exposed

“The court is ready for you madam” 
I sniffed and silently raised myself from the wooden chair. My response spoke a thousand words. The voice spoke again “follow me please madam”. I attempted to compose myself, however the abundant memories that suffocated my brain in that moment paralysed my life-like corpse.
Scuffing my maroon velvet boots along the luminous floor, my first attempt to leave my comfort zone went to plan. Suddenly the awkwardness of my life-less hanging arms became apparent to me. Grabbing a thread which is evidently making an appearance at the side of my midnight black blouse, I wondered if Primark made their clothes so permeable on purpose. I thought that actually, they probably do. Considering how maliciously clever this is, I remember how manipulative man can be. 
Without realising I had reached my destination. “If you could wait here madam, I will tell the court you are ready” Once again I found myself sitting in an incredibly uncomfortable chair, while I continued to question the validity of my youth. The realisation that I had company suddenly hit. I was sat opposite a very weathered-looking gentleman in a fraying hat and a sewage coloured shirt. He looked deeply concerned. I realised this was maybe due to the fact I had been staring at him accidently while deep in thought for the past six minutes. I smiled at him to give the impression I was not a threatening youth. His bristled chin was then greeted by a shaken, nervous hand. I worried my innocent smile had come across more troublesome then intended. Simultaneously I couldn’t prevent myself from questioning what his crime would have been. Or more to the point, what did he suspect my criminal action to be. I decided a court case was probably not the place to voice my opinion. I kept silent.
My thought process was abruptly interrupted by the man who had been my tour guide for the day. 
“You may enter now madam”
For the first time, I realised this timid middle-aged man was wearing a worn out wedding ring. Was I destined to marry? Was I destined to share my life with a man who refers to other women as ‘madam’ in order to earn a living? Sensing the distance between the man and I, for the first time in my life I knew I had unknowingly intimidated a grown man. The possibility of this made me shiver, it was a visible shiver, but not one that happens when one is cold. I didn’t feel anxious nor did I feel scared or vulnerable. Numbness had overpowered me.
I remember when I was six; Mum and I would listen to Radio One every morning while eating Oatmeal and Jam. Specifically, I remember one morning Mum informed me of her run in with the police “it happens to be best of us darlin’” she stated. This was two months before she abandoned me for her latest Spanish lover. Even until this day I questioned her advice, however I knew these questions would stay rhetorical. 
The gentleman led the way into the courtroom with me trailing behind like a lost, but not so innocent puppy. I shivered again, but this time I was cold. Feeling like a functioning corpse, I clutched my hand together behind my back. This may have been perceived as a sign of nerves, but as a matter-of-fact- I was checking my pulse. One Mississippi…two Mississippi…three Mississippi. How was I to know if this speed was irregular? I’d never taken my own pulse before, but I can confirm my heart was well and truly pumping blood through my body. Not that anyone cared.
The man held the door open for me, as I gingerly took baby steps past him and into the court. Showing my affection to the man in the only way I knew how, I nodded in his direction. Not the type of nod someone does to confirm their emotional wellbeing. It was more of a nod to indicate I understood why he looked more nervous then I ever have. Something remarkable and unexplained then happened; the man responded with a smile. I felt warm inside with nostalgia overflowing my thoughts and becoming evident on my face. Planning in my head to clear my throat and whisper “thank you” I continued to stare at the man. I decided this was a bad idea as I couldn’t break the wall I had spent the last few months building up. I’m sure he would understand. The door slammed behind me and I complete my next marathon of the day.
Every head in the room turned and looked at me, most of them doing a discreet double take. Never in my life had all eyes been on me. Never had anyone looked twice in my direction. Never before had I cared; until now. It seemed like a long walk to my designated seat; however it was only 26 long, tense strides. 
“All sit” announced a dominating voice.
Silence. My eyes panned the room. I recognised few people, nevertheless someone caught my eye. A young gentleman, with brown,tousled, recognisable hair, enormous honeycomb eyes and pearl white, yet slightly crooked teeth. I stared at him for longer then what was considered socially acceptable; I saw something in him, something others couldn’t see. Sadness overpowered his delicate face and trauma outweighed his fragile heart. Mum always said I was a good judge of character; however I often questioned what her motives to say this were, considering the last time we spoke I was just six years old. That’s another question which goes unanswered. Blinking to regain my sight, I realised the boy in question was staring directly past my dull, hazel eyes and straight into my lukewarm heart. Eye contact was not a trait I had mastered, however we had similarities which we was clearly both aware and cautious of. Feeling the pain of a stranger is something I can’t explain, just like the taste of water; it’s indescribable yet unforgettable.
Back to reality. The barrister was approaching me from a distance. I felt self-conscious and exposed to say the least. The barrister was a gentleman in his mid-fifties, he looked stern, yet his face had lost all enthusiasm. Looking at his hands I realised he was missing awedding ring. Single. My feminist views occurred, and I considered: as he was deprived of a women’s touch in his life would this jeopardise my case?
“Rise please”
Processing the fact he was only speaking to me, I stood up. Maybe a bit too quickly as a dizzy-spell seemed to over-power me. I grabbed onto the arm of my wooden chair as tightly as a small child would to their mother before crossing the road. I took a moment to compose myself, this was clear to everyone else in the room as I could see sympathetic eyes glaring at me from all directions. This didn’t overrule the fact I was alone, and at the age of sixteen, was about to make the most substantial decision I would ever have to make.

Before the questions could commence, the mute opened its mouth.

“I did it” I claimed. 
“I brutally murdered Sarah Jones”

***

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