Will you marry me?
She agreed with all her heart - but couldn't understand why at the very moment she said
yes - Noah's face came to mind...
That was what came to my mind this morning as I was packing to come back to Melbourne. Because if I tell the truth, it was what happened to me. My heart agreed to marry someone else, but all I could see in my mind was your face. Because it was supposed to be you. You and me.
Not Michael and I. Not David and I. Not me and anyone else that I had been a relationship with. But you and me and you weren’t there.
I scared myself this morning. I was filled with a fear I haven’t felt in a long time. As we were driving out of town, we went past what was left of our former place. And I looked away. Because I couldn’t for the life of me allow myself to cry in front of this person and give them a chance to ask what was wrong. Because I wouldn’t have been able to explain.
Why was I feeling that fear. Because as the title says for a moment I thought I forgot to remember. Your face pops into my memories at various times during my days. But this morning as we drove away I closed my eyes and I couldn’t see your face. And there was nothing but pure panic. And then I heard you. “don’t panic angel girl I’m still with you” and I started to breathe again. But then came the anger. Pure anger and I wished I could see you so that I could tell you everything I had been through the entire weekend.
But where are you? I don’t know do I? Or do I?
I have your address and I have had for the last five years. Why do you think I moved to this suburb? Because I know that your house or at least what used to be your house is a mere fifteen minutes drive from my house. I know this because I’ve been there many, many times. I don’t ever knock on the door. I just sit there in my car, just a short distance from your front door and I hold my breathe and hope and pray that you’ll open the door and walk out. At least then my curiosity would be satisfied and perhaps, just perhaps I could continue on with my life. With my wedding plans and my ability to live a life without you consuming all of my thoughts.
But what if your not there? What if your not here anymore. What if you’ve gone and I never got to say goodbye. I wouldn’t know where to go to say goodbye. If you are gone? Where is your body resting? Where would the place be that I could go and sit with you and talk to you. Because I know that you’d hear me.
You would. Wouldn’t you?
I remember, so clearly, that feeling in my stomach on the day you sent me to find out just what you had done. I was stunned. I don’t think there is anything in the world that could make me feel that kind of stomach churning shock, pain and heartbreak. All I knew is that I still felt the same about you and I still wanted the rest of my life to be with you. I was sitting in the State Library of Victoria and I must have turned a horrible shade of grey because I remember the librarian asking me did I need some water. I didn’t. I needed some air.
I left everything where it was and I don’t know how I managed to get outside. I know I told the librarian that I would be back. When I got outside I just started to breathe. I just breathed through the absolute shock and amazement at what I had read and I prepared myself to go back in there and read the rest like I promised you I would do.
Newspaper after newspaper. From Queensland where the incident happened. To Victoria where your trial took place. The first thing that hit me was the headline “Jury Handed Gloves In Trial To Examine Murder Weapon “. I truly thought as I read that it would change the way I felt about you but it didn’t. And thats when I knew that what I felt for you was real.
I hugged you when I visited you that weekend and you looked at me with those stunning blue eyes and you asked me why I was there. I couldn’t give you any answer other than that things had not changed. Nobody knew. Not in my world. Just you and me. And I didn’t care. I knew that my feelings for you had made me into a less judgemental person.
I wanted to hear your side of the story. Why you had taken someone’s life. I know what the prosecution had said and what the newspapers had reported but I needed to hear the truth from you. My John.
We sat at that table and watched my little girl sleep in her pram while I held your hands and we talked. It felt like our own little family because god knows you adored her as much as I did. It was almost like she was your own. It was quite cute to see the big burly prison guard’s pushing around this little baby in a pram. Those were the days of minimum security prisons in the country.
There was so much information to process and we talked for hours. You told me your story, most of which was what was reported by the newspapers. And then we got to the elephant in the room. WHY the jury was given gloves to wear to examine the weapon that you gave to the police when they arrested you.
It’s still a little bewildering to me that my gentle invisible baker could be capable of such violence. But I knew in my heart that it would never happen again. Your life had been changed forever and not only by spending so many years in jail but the sentence that you would suffer for the rest of your life by constantly waiting to see how much of your life outside you would see.
You had stabbed someone. Not once. But many times. You had stabbed him so hard that the boning knife had pierced
right through him that it was poking out the other side. You were covered in his blood when you handed yourself into the police and told them what you had done.
You’d been at the beach. A normal every day thing for you and you’d met some people who were having a party and you were hanging with them. The party went back to a house, I can’t remember who and truthfully its irrelevant. After lots of drinking and partying you’d decided to stay there and sleep and a guy had hit on you. More than once. You’d told him you were not interested at all. When you slept, he made his move. You woke up and something inside you snapped. The first thing you grabbed was that damn knife and you stabbed him to death.
He had HIV.
You were covered in his blood.
And now the life that you had taken was forever linked with yours because you didn’t know if you’d contracted it.
I think you were stunned when I told you that it didn’t matter to me. That I loved you just the same and time after time when they took you to the hospital to be tested I met you there and I always managed to get a few minutes with you and each and every time your results came back as negative.
But now I don’t know if they are still negative and you are alive and well and living in the next suburb.
Now I don’t know if they came back positive and you are alive and sick.
I don’t know if you are healthy and married.
Or if you are back in jail.
Or if you are – dead.
I know nothing except what we went thru together for all of those years.
I know nothing but what your letters say and your picture shows and what my red box of memories contains.
Your sister was the one who told me your address. I found her on Facebook. But when I look for her now I can’t find her. If I could then at least I would know something.
But for now – all I can do and will continue to do is sit down the road from your house and pray to whatever God there is that you will walk out the door. Or I can get out of my car, walk to the door, knock on it and hope that you answer.
The question remains – what would you say to me if you did answer the door?
Would you say the same eight words that you said in your letter?
Would you even know it was me?
Would you even care?
Of course I would.
I’m so glad that today I didn’t forget to remember.
I just hope you still do.
I wish you were here.