It was freezing cold in the court room. Fay was sat in at the front of the room waiting to be called on. Dan was sat behind a table and, from time to time, kept glancing at her and winking.
She hadn’t been concentrating for the majority of the case. A few men had stood up and told everybody that Dan was an alcoholic and that he beat his wife. Jane had been called on to give her account of what she thought had happened. Not once did she make eye contact with Fay. It was as if their friendship had never existed. Jane stood in front of the judge, her head held high, and said how she never was allowed to see Fay anymore, because she was locked away in the dark, covered in bruises.
Even the postman who had seen Fay on the morning that Dan had been arrested had made an appearance.
Finally it was Fay’s turn. With shaky hands and legs like jelly, Fay walk to the front of the court room. She had to place her hand on the bible and say out loud to the court;
“I do solemnly and sincerely and truly declare and affirm that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” Fay didn’t believe in god but, perhaps because of the size of the room, the hundreds of eyes looking at her, her love sitting being accused of a lie, Fay found herself praying to him.
A man, his face twisted with years of cold, un-opinionated years of being in court, stepped forwards and began to question her. Fay tried to concentrate.
“You have been with Daniel Lawrence for four years and five months. Is that correct?” He continued to repeat the same questions that the police officer had asked her a few days before.
“Please may you give the court your side of the story.” This was Fay’s chance. Finally she was allowed to voice her opinion.
“Dan’s an alcoholic. Its not an excise, it’s a fact. Two years ago, when it started getting more serious, he began to beat me. It wasn’t much at first, just once a week when he arrived home he would hit me. But over time it developed to a more regular occurrence.”
The twisted man interrupted her. “But you never turned him in?”
Fay shook her head. “It didn’t matter how many times he did it. I never stopped loving him, and when he woke up the following day, he was always sorry, he always apologized.”
Dan was allowed to see her for five minutes after the case. Fay ran and embraced him.
“It could have been worse I suppose.” He whispered into her ear. “Three months is nothing. You can visit me whenever you want and I promise I’ll make it up to you when I get out.”
Fay didn’t talk. She couldn’t. She had fought for him and, in one way, she had won.
“And my final promise to you.” She looked up at him. “I promise I’ll get sober.”