I watch, eyes open, lips pursed tight and cold, a stopper for a tongue that wishes to break loose and wild, to shout the words that my head desires, with a heart that’s rattling against the bars of its cage. My lonesome, weary lover’s faded sea blue eyes are swimming around the room, passing over every unfriendly and grimly judging face, and I sit there alone, secure and silent in the knowledge that he too is simply trying to reach a familiar face that will still his eyes and settle his heart.
I wish our eyes would meet, eyes that must have passed over mine like searchlights in the night a dozen times, yet still he does not recognise me. Perhaps he’s grown forgetful in the years he’s been away. Perhaps he’s grown fearful because of hope, because of the hope that has been goading him in his dreams and itching at the back of his waking mind for years. He’s begun to detest hope, he wants it gone and away, to leave him be.
The last time I had seen him he was unshaven with his eyes sunken and his body was broken, and he had told me never to come and see him again. Through a window he could see the tears welling up and spilling out of my eyes, and I could see them in his. But he knew he could not cry, and there were always other eyes watching his. “Once you’re alone in here” he said dejected, breath wavering and misting the window with the phone pressed against his ear, “you stay alone.” With that he was turned away and warded briskly away without a chance to look back at what he had left behind.
My husband had been a hardworking man, a loyal man, a happy man, but regardless or perhaps even due to this, a poor man, and it was this aspect of his life that had caught their attention, the men who can think only in dollars. The men who promised a better life for him and his family, his wife and his daughter, and from the moment my husband agreed, they knew they could make him whatever they wanted.
My lover was no fool; an underprivileged life does not mean a life of stupidity, and he knew what he was getting himself into. He took every precaution to stop these men taking everything he had; they were his protection as long was theirs. They would pay him handsomely to protect their interests, and he would ask no questions of these interests, interest that would lead to our demise.
For a while I was unaware of any problems, when he came home with a brand new dress that I knew we could not afford he explained that he had received a bonus, that his hard work was finally paying off and we were on our way to a better life, our daughter would go to university and we could finally have the honeymoon we dreamed of and I had never felt so proud.
Soon it became apparent that something was wrong however and my love would come home late, and I would come to the bedroom door to see him tired and shaken sitting at the kitchen table with his head in his hands, and he would not speak of what was wrong. “Everything was fine” he would say. “Go back to bed my sweetheart” he would say. A year passed by, with periods of normality and happiness being broken up again by these nights, these episodes that shook him so terribly that he would not even tell me, the one he loved then and will always love as long as we both shall live, til’ death do us part and beyond.
His eyes had stopped swimming and instead rested on his hands that in turn were resting on the table of the defence, in the court room that could be a second home. The judge is speaking but I’m not listening and from the looks of it neither is he, but the man at the back of the room couldn’t be paying any more attention, his gaze boring a hole into the men he’s been paying off for years to keep my husband away from me and our daughter, my beautiful Madeline, kept away from her father but crooked men.
My husband knows the truth but he wouldn’t be understood, he wouldn’t even be heard, and the other man who knows the truth in this room has taken care of all the others that did, and he cannot ever know that I know.
The judge has accepted my lover’s appeal but again we hear guilty, the evidence to support the court appointed lawyers claims that my husband is innocent of the murder of one Daniel Peter Thomas, is not substantial enough to change the juries minds, and any key witnesses that would provide the evidence to free my husband have failed to offer their testimony. This is because dead men tell no tales, and because bad men control the world.
He finally finds my eyes as he is led away again into the room that took him away from me once before and the hopelessness in his eyes is reflected by the despair of mine. I may never him again, our hope may never exist again; but our love will never die.