I was wearing my best clothes for I did not own a suit then. I sat swilling bad coffee around a greasy mug contemplating whether by 2pm I might be doing the same thing behind bars under contempt of court.
When my Barrister arrived we sat down for the briefing. As his Superman ringtone went off I squinted at him over the melamine laminate table. He cleared his throat and stared at the portfolio before him.
Of course the obvious game was people watching which was better than that of the English beachfront in the height of summer. I spent the time constructively glaring at the back of the Defendant’s head hoping to wither his resolve.
He showed a glimmer of strength in a weak ratio with life’s atrocities. He wore glasses that were too large and he was perpetually pushing them up on his elderly beak with a shaky finger. He was not turning to look at me but I could tell he was not sure how it had come to this. He was hard of hearing and the judge himself stood up to adjust the acoustics of the room by opening and closing windows, doors, moving barriers of stacked books and an alarming quantity of bibles. His Barrister, who actually looked like the type of girl I would get to know at a family wedding, turned occasionally to look at me.
The older man’s story was muddled and his concentration waned as the length of each answer was drawn out and diminished with every word. My own voice wavered also and I stumbled over my words, he and I, together in this party for the brave and soulless, with a blonde angel looking on from the back of the room.
He held his head in his hands briefly as the Judge made his ruling and as we all filed out of the room I found myself silently apologising to the defeated being who made one last gesture by holding the door open for me. “Thank you” I whispered, to the man who had once almost killed me.