Unnoticed, I made myself scarce from the room. There were 11 people in the jury who were convinced that the defendant deserved the death penalty. If I continued to oppose them, the case would result in a mistrial. The pressure of my fellow jurors weighed heavily on my shoulders. I took advantage of the discussion whether we should get pizza or burgers to disappear to the restrooms.
I forced myself to look in the mirror. I still can’t reproduce the full story of what happened to me on the day I started hating myself, twenty years ago. I remember seeing a robin in the morning and a nurse introducing herself as Marian in the evening. Everything in between is a blur. I couldn’t tell the police what the man looked like, but I knew I would recognize the tattoo on his right wrist anywhere.
That’s how I discovered him last year. My barber had just retired, and I was in desperate need of a haircut. Choosing a new barber is a delicate matter. I had postponed finding one until further delay was no longer justified. By a dark twist of fate, I walked into that man’s barbershop. My body froze when a pair of scissors hovered above my head. I couldn’t keep my eyes from the crescent moon shining in front of me. It belonged to the man who had ruined my childhood.
I don’t know how I managed to get home that night, but I woke up the next morning determined to confront my demon. I waited until he closed his shop and followed him home. Like a thief, I sneaked into his backyard and looked through the kitchen window. Much to my surprise, I saw a woman pointing a gun at him. She pulled the trigger before I could utter a single sound. As the body fell, I stepped back, triggering a garden light sensor. The next moment, the woman and I looked into each other’s eyes. She lowered her gun and opened the kitchen door.
I could only think of one thing to say: ‘I wouldn’t have had the courage to do what you did.’
‘He deserved it,’ she said.
‘He certainly did,’ I answered.
We didn’t need more words to understand each other.
‘I should probably call the police,’ she concluded. ‘It’s better if you go now.’
We shook hands and I left her with the body of her dead husband on the kitchen floor.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. I didn’t flinch during the “voir dire” when asked if there was any reason why I wouldn’t qualify as a juror. She kept her lips sealed about finding out —after all those years being married to him— that her husband was a child molester.
I repeated my argument one more time in front of the mirror: ‘What about the footprints in the garden? There must have been a third person involved.’
And so the debate continued.