I didn’t know a court case could take so long. I didn’t know what the delay was. Every week this lawyer would come meet me and then he’d smile and say everything is going good. He seemed quite good at the smiling. He probably did that a lot. Mama and dada said he was the best and that he’d get me out of here. It sounded kind of ominous since they said, Patterson uncle was the best and look how he turned out. I didn’t quite understand all that was happening. I was in my cell most of the time. They made us work in the home. It was bad, the work. There was a lot of work and it never seemed to end. Every day I would come back all bruised and battered but at least it kept my mind off the case. The children inside were not all that bad. Some of them talked to me. Others chose to ignore me and for some, well I don’t think they knew I was inside at all. I remember grandpa used to say, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” I found my silver lining in that place. His name was Joe. He wasn’t much to talk to but he was always ready to listen. He never said a cross word to me and he never caused me any problems. In the nights when I couldn’t sleep, I’d tell him about mama and how she must be so worried about me.
Joe and I became really close friends. I’d bring him some of my bread and he’d entertain me when I was bored. Joe was my pet mouse. I had found him in my cell and I used to feed him at first. Then Joe got much more confident and he clambered right up my pants, up my arm and stood on my shoulder. He was really well behaved and seemed to be very intelligent.
I didn’t talk to many people in the home. In fact I didn’t talk to anyone. I didn’t see the need to. I didn’t want to. I withdrew into my shell and I waited for the case to begin. The lawyer seemed to be growing more and more confident and I began to actually believe I’d be able to get out of here.
It was almost seven whole months later that the case went to court. Our lawyer had been saying it wouldn’t go to court even. He said he would get them to agree to out terms and dance to our tunes. Obviously the DA didn’t think dancing was cool for he went on ahead, full steam. He said they would ask for the maximum punishment. That meant I’d spend the rest of my life in a home like this till I was 18 and then get sent to jail where I’d spend even more time. I couldn’t believe that they were actually talking about sending me to jail. For heaven’s sake. I had done something I had to. I was being raped. Why was everyone forgetting that? What was even scarier was the media. They were everywhere. Outside the home, inside the courtroom, they lined the roads. I had to be taken into the courtroom via the side entrance to escape their eye. I didn’t understand much of the proceedings. First the DA spoke about how I had killed the doctor. He told the jury about how I had planned to kill him and how brutal the killing was. He showed them pictures of the dead body and since they were close ups of the face it thoroughly grossed them out. Then he went on to say something about Lisa and me and how we had planned to do this together or something like that. The members of the jury kept looking at me when he was speaking and my lawyer had asked me to look all scared for some reason. Apparently this was part of his plan. I wasn’t too sure about what he was doing. The DA went on about the crime and after a while I think even the jury got a little fed up with him. Finally when he sat down, the judge must also have been bored for he declared an early lunch.
When we returned it was time for my lawyer to give his opening statement. He too launched into the murder and all that but then tried to justify it by talking about the molesting. At this point he had told me to cringe but I didn’t need to, it just happened. It was like I could still feel his hands on me. I hated it.” The kid suddenly stopped and said, “Al, I really don’t want to go on now. Maybe we can talk about this sometime later.” I looked at the kid and then said, “I’m so sorry I’m doing this to you. I won’t do this anymore.” To this the kid said, “No Al, its nice talking about it, it helps ease the pain. There was once a time when I couldn’t talk to anyone about anything, but you’ve changed that for me.” “I don’t want to ask you anything more but if the maximum sentence was life imprisonment, then how did you end up on death row?” I asked. He looked down at his hands and said, “In the juvenile home I met a lot of people like Dr.Patterson.” I looked down at my feet. I didn’t know what to say. The kid had obviously killed again. I thought about what he had said and the way he had said it. He seemed so detached. I wanted to ask him about Lisa too. Where was she? What had happened to her? How was she coping with what had happened? She would probably be Angie’s age now. Thinking of Angie brought back old memories. I lay back down and from under the bed I picked up my box of papers and letters that I had received over the years. I rummaged through them until I found the stack I was looking for. These were letters that Angie had addressed to God and given them to grandma for posting. She had sent each and every one to me. I took out the first one and began to read,
I don’t know where daddy is. I miss him a lot. Please find him for me. The last time I saw him he was in a black colour van. I know he is thinking of me but I don’t know why he won’t come and see me. I want to stay with him. Grandma tells me he left us but I don’t believe that. I know he wouldn’t leave me all alone and go. Please bring him back to me. Please. I don’t have anyone. You called mama away so early, now I don’t even have daddy. Whatever I did wrong, I am sorry for it. Please forgive me.
The next one read,
I don’t know if you got my last letter. Grandma says she sent it but I don’t think she did. So I am giving this letter to grandma’s nurse. She’s a nice woman. She looks after us properly. I miss daddy and mommy a lot. Why did you take them away? I miss them so much. There is so much I wanted to tell them. Ok, I will tell you what I want to tell them and please make sure you tell them.
Thank you for all the love you gave me. You were the one who braided my hair. You were the one who taught me how to smile every time I wanted to cry. Now every time I think of you I smile. Thank you mommy for everything. I love you.
Thank you for being the best daddy in the whole world. You taught me how to climb trees. You taught me how to ride a cycle. Now every where I go, I go on my cycle and dad, now I can run faster than any other girl in my class. I wish you could see me play soccer. The coach says I’m very good at it. Thank you so much for all the love you gave me. I love you.
Please show them these letters when you meet them. Please take good care of them.
I couldn’t read anymore. I was choked with tears. I was missing Angie so much. I loved her so much. She was just like the kid. All alone out there in the big bad world. I prayed, “God please take good care of her and Lisa. I know I don’t even know Lisa but she needs your help. Please help her.”