I opened the door and the cool air whisked past me. I wasn’t expecting it, and gasped under my breath, or so I thought. Several people in the room turned around…including him.
The room itself was intimidating. The tables, the seriousness of it all, the bailiff watching everybody’s every move. It was stark and cold. It was sad; not hopeful. No matter what the outcome was, I would be the loser.
My son had been gone for over a year. His smile and laughter, things I thought I would never forget, faded away a little more every day. His scent, the way he scrunched his lips to one side when he tried to make a decision, the way he said “I love you, Mommy ” Gone forever.
He turned around and stared at me. Recognition instantly flashed across his face. He looked me up and down, raised an eyebrow, and nodded his head up, as if to say “Hey, what’s up?”.
I was sickened. My stomach fell to the floor, and I felt like I might throw up. But I did not. I showed strength and no fear. I had to be strong for my boy.
The verdict had been read just hours before. Guilty. Now sentencing. My turn to stand up and give my Victim Impact Statement. But what did I say?
How could I describe with words what was been stolen from me? How could I possibly make people understand that my heart – my soul – was taken right out of me.
That I woke up at night not being able to breathe and not knowing where I was. My husband left. I couldn’t get out of bed most mornings.
I still looked for him everywhere I went, even though I know he wouldn’t be there. I couldn’t cry anymore. That I did nothing but cry. That I cut myself to try to feel something, but there was nothing there.
I was hollow.
How could I describe the feeling of watching little boys that were playing, learning, fighting, screaming…being little boys…and how it angered me more than anything else?
That this WAS.NOT.FAIR. and that MY.LITTLE.BOY.DIDN’T.DESERVE any of this.
That I only could hear his voice screaming “Mommy” in fear instead of remembering it being spoken with love? That I couldn’t get the terror and pain and suffering out of my head. Tears streaming down his face while he prayed for me. Or the thought of what he must have been thinking while having a piece of rope tied around his neck?
I would never see him graduate high school or college, never hug him the first time his heart was broken, or hug him when he found the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. I would never hold a grandchild or be called grandma. I wouldn’t be there to watch him struggle through life and learn from his mistakes and experiences.
How do I describe the guilt that I wore like a crown of thorns?
I could not describe the devastation and darkness that has become my life. I could not make people understand the depth of my loss. I walked towards the podium, searching for the words.
Con-crit (constructive criticism) appreciated! Please feel free to leave any suggestions you think will help me improve my writing!
This post was written for the red writing hood at the red dress club. The prompt: Someone has stolen something from you (or your character). Something of tremendous value. What will you do to give it back? Or will you give up?
This post is fiction, and was a follow up to another red writing hood prompt I wrote called “Darkness“. As I wrote the this post, I cried…that’s never happened to me before. I hope to NEVER experience anything like this. EVER.