She was sitting on her bed, crying. She didn’t want to allow herself the luxury of crying but at that moment it felt as if she would never be able to stop. She realised she would have to pull herself together at some point. She would have to stand up, face herself in the mirror and she would have to wash herself, put on some makeup and then walk out the door. She would have to open that door, go back into the world and she would have to look like she was fine.
Even though she wasn’t fine, and never would be again.
Her cries turned to sobs and then the crying seemed to ebb out, like the tide was over and now it was time for the backflow to work its wonders. She buried her face in her hands for a while and took a deep breath, then she held her breath for a moment, stood up and let it ease out of her softly.
Then she went to the bathroom to put her face back on. She took a quick shower, her movements were easy and she looked as if nothing had been bothering her. She focused on getting ready quickly and then she stood in front of the door and stared at it for a little while. Preparing herself.
Then she opened the door. There were flashes, bright lights and for a moment she was blinded. She smiled, didn’t let the lights disturb her. She balanced her way down the steps and straight forward were she knew a hand was waiting to grab hers and guide her through the process and the debris. She heard questions being thrown at her from all directions, but she ignored them, she couldn’t see them, could hear the words but didn’t want to understand them, or acknowledge what was being said.
Only one voice stuck out among the cries, only one voice reached her, not because the questions were more legitimate than the others but because it reminded her of a voice she’d heard so often before, but would never hear again.
She stopped, right before the place were the hand would be reaching out for hers. She looked into the crowd, tried to see beyond the lights and the strange, dark faces, but it was nearly impossible. She tried to extinguish the voice from the others again but everyone raised their voices now that she’d stopped, they started to scream and shout and it made her feel awkward. She took a deep breath and started walking again. The voice was there, still, but she couldn’t extinguish were it came from. She found the hand, saw his face and gave him a quick grateful smile. He nodded his head but kept his stern look. He took her hand, like she was a fairytale princess to be carefully guided down some hazardous steps wearing heels higher than the moon itself.
And the thought almost made her laugh.
Then she was through. She let out a heavy breath, but nothing was over. She still had to face the music, so to speak. He let go of her hand, not unkindly but firmly and let her walk alone towards the middle of a big stage.
She stood there for just a second, gathering her strength and then she took the microphone. This would be the hardest performance of her life, but she would get through it. And afterwards she would pay her dues. She didn’t care.
When she started to sing, the crowd in front of her went quiet. She couldn’t see them, but she could feel the judging eyes on her. She had done what she had done, they didn’t know why, it was a heinous thing. She was a monster.
She didn’t care. She liked the idea, in fact.
“This is for her” she said quietly before she started singing. She had never had a problem performing, talking on stage was a breeze but this was hard to say. And then she started to sing and nothing mattered anymore. Nothing would ever matter again. All that mattered was history. She had done what she needed to do. Her daughter could rest in peace. She had shot the man who had done the worst thing in the world to her her child, she had shot him were it counted and watched him bleed out. She would NEVER, ever recover from the evil he had done to her little girl. It didn’t matter were she spent the rest of her life. If it was in jail, an insane asylum or continuing to do shows like this. She would never be whole again.
When the tones ebbed out she feared her own private tide would come back. She heard the applause, first faint and weak but then she heard how the sound got more and more powerful. The sound of people clapping hit her like a wave, and she felt the need to stagger back. It felt like warmth, but she knew it was shallow admiration and she stood perfectly still. They would judge her just as harshly as anybody else, she thought, but at this moment their cheers were sincere. She knew that too.
She walked over the stage opposite of where she had entered it and was faced with three unfamiliar faces. The men who had come for her. The men who were going to interview her.
They called it an interview, but it was an interrogation, nothing more and nothing less. The men introduced themselves and shook her hand, and it struck her that they were being very civilised with her. She didn’t hear their names, and she knew she wasn’t making her life any easier by being rude, but she couldn’t help it.
They escorted her down steep stairs and into a badly lit garage were a large car with dark windows was awaiting them. They sat her in the back, and sat on each side of her.
“I’m very thankful for this” she said to them. “The car, the dark windows and the …” her voice ebbed out but the men just nodded their heads, as if this was a service the police department would render anyone who asked for it.
“You do realise you are under arrest” the man to her left told her.
“I realise that” she said. “I’ll confess, you won’t have any problems with me”.
They drove the rest of the way in silence. She felt the tide coming over her but she managed to stay the tears by swallowing hard and breathing deeply. They probably heard her but she didn’t really care what they thought of her.
At the station they led her in by a small exit on the side of the building. Nobody had followed them, nobody saw her climb into the building and take off her moon high heels. She walked up the stairs feeling awkward on her toes in the badly lit, badly cleaned staircase.
She was seated in a small room, offered coffee or something else to drink and then made to sit in the room by herself for over ten minutes. She didn’t mind, if it weren’t for her tides, fighting of the tears, it would have been rather pleasant, cathartic.
Then a man and a woman entered the room, they introduced themselves, she caught the woman’s name, Leslie and she hung on to that. Then they started to ask her questions. She noticed the woman constantly had her hand, palm down, on the table.
She tried to explain herself, the best she could without crying. She explained, thinking that they already knew what she was going to say. She saw the coldness in their eyes. She had murdered a respectable man, a powerful man and she had no good excuses they thought.
Except she had the best excuse in the world.
In the end she broke. She felt the first tear escape her eye and then it was over, she couldn’t fight it.
“He killed her” she whispered, “he raped her and he killed her and he buried her in the backyard of his country cottage” she whispered, “he raped and killed my daughter” she raised her voice, the tears dripping down on her clothes, smearing her makeup again.
“She was only seven years old” she whispered again.
They stared at her.
“Why didn’t you report this?” the woman named Leslie said calmly.
She just sobbed. “I was in the yard, I dug her up and he was inside. He saw me. I shot him.”
“You really should have a lawyer here” the woman said, “are you claiming self defence?”
“I’m not claiming anything, it doesn’t matter what you do to me. She’s dead, she was raped by the monster and now the monster is dead. Do whatever you like with me. I really don’t care”.
The man stood up, the woman lingered a while but then she followed her partner outside.
She sat there waiting for the ebb to arrive. She couldn’t stand these outbursts. Couldn’t stand the agony that came with them. She tried to strain herself. Tried to fight off the image of her daughters body lying in the ground. It was what would be eternally stuck on her cornea. She would never forget it, never stop seeing it, never stop seeing the nakedness of her body, how her limbs lay dead, white and dirty. How her eyes glazed and dead would never see her again. She would never forget the lightness of her daughters body as she carried her to her resting place, beside her late mother. Another act of impropriety, you weren’t meant to dig a grave in the middle of the night in the cemetery. But she couldn’t face her not resting securely and she knew of no better place than right there beside her grandmother. The blisters on her hands hadn’t healed still, perhaps they never would.
She would forever play in her mind the moments in the little child’s life, when she desperately needed her mother there to fight for her but she was nowhere to be found. She imagined the cries, the tears and no tears of hers would ever make up for a single tear her daughter had cried during the violation the man she had trusted, had performed.
The wave came crashing over her. Her tears fell, landed on her clothes and hands. Her feet were frozen to the ground, her skin became hard as stone, her lips turned white, her heart broke in two, her hair turned to moving snakes and her eyes stayed exactly the same, cerulean, filled with ocean of tears and hurt. She was unable to move, but it didn’t matter.
She could sit there and sing. When the detectives came back she sang and she couldn’t stop. Her eyes were continuously filled with tears, but she didn’t stop singing.
It was all that she could do.