Cassandra became silent, and I walked up to the man I was directed to, and began to look at him like he was alien to planet earth, and like I could tell how Cassandra would look, from his own appearance. When the man, white-skinned, wearing brown shorts and blue T-shirt on top, noticed the strange way I was looking at him, when he looked up from the book he was reading and landed a glance on me, he took some time to look through his clothes. I could read his thoughts that drove him to do that. Why would I look at him that way if there was nothing smelly there or so awful on his clothes that he did not know about? He turned his attention once again to the book and continued reading when he became satisfied there was nothing. That book must be quite engrossing, I thought. I saw the title, END IT BY THE GUN, written by Kenechukwu Obi, when the man flipped its cover as he looked at me. He reminded me of how engrossed I once was, while reading J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harlan Coben’s Tell No One.
“Hi,” I said to the man. “My name is Jan.” The man looked up from the book, looked at me and spoke.
“You go ahead and say whatever it is you want and not stand and look at me like I’m the killer of John F. Kennedy. I don’t have all day. I’ve got to read through all of this book. What the fuck do you want?”
“You’re not Cassandra!” I said to the man.
“I know that!” He responded, his tone, sarcastic. He then made a face that held a quizzing look displayed like a big New York billboard. “Oh…. sorry,” he was quick to say after that, as a slight smile born out of a need he felt to be polite to me, flickered on his face. “I forgot to tell you my name,” he continued. “Oh… this book is so interesting that it robs me of good manners. Sorry once again! I’m Trent.”
“You’re not her,” I went ahead to say.
“Oh… no…. please don’t start, Jan,” Trent spoke like a broken man humbled by remorse his tone became drenched in, leaving me all astonished and tempted to scream, what the hell is going on? “I’ve been out of jail for four years now,” he continued. “Please don’t ever remind me of that!” I had no choice but to look at Trent like he had gone crazy.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, my bemused gaze, concentrated on Trent.
“Stop looking at me like I’m the worst of all folks in America,” Trent spoke back. “Those behind nine-eleven were much worse.”
Confused and all lost in his choice of words, I could not comprehend in the least, what he had said and why he had to say all that which came across to me like some awkward rambling piece of bull shit.
“Look, Trent,” I started my response. “I’ve never met you until now. Why on earth should I start thinking you’re a murderer? I’m sorry if you feel that’s the way I see you.”
“Jan, I know a thing about murder,” said Trent, who broke down in tears at once, the book in his right hand, fallen, and now on the ground.
Pity moved me to walk closer to Trent, though I had no idea why he would suddenly be in tears. And I held his left shoulder. My intention was to console Trent who still had something to say.
“Do you know the thing I know about murder?” Trent said to me.
“No I don’t,” I said, curious to know what more his remorse-laden heart had in store.
“I did it,” Trent said.
And he compelled me to conclude he must be out of his fucking mind in some ways, but not when I got to learn of what he said he did, which was the truth that was not strong enough to stop me when I got to see it. Don’t quit on my story now.