He sat in silence.
Listening to nothing but hearing everything.
The air conditioner would click on and the motor would hum to regulate the temperature to his preferred setting of 72 degrees.
The ceiling fan, that had fixtures for 5 bulbs but only contained 1, turned unsteadily but continuously on the low setting.
He looked up at it, shrugged his shoulders, and returned his gaze back to the flat screen tv that hadn’t been turned on in 4 years.
And sat in silence.
He glanced at the framed memories on the walls that surrounded him.
Each photo a freeze frame of smiles, hugs and happy times.
He reached over to the end table that sat next to the sofa and picked up a frame and looked at it.
It contained a photo of his wife and daughter at the dance recital for the 6th grade class.
He smiled and ran his finger over the glass.
He placed the photo next to him and answered his cell phone.
“Yes…of course I want to be there. I have waited a long time for this.”
“Ok, see you soon.”
He clicked end on the phone, picked up his keys and the picture and headed out the door.
He reached the preceding just after it had started.
The judge banged his gavel and began, just as the man took his seat in the front row of the gallery.
“Order in the court….Mr. Foreman….has the jury reached a verdict.”
The jury foreman stood up and replied,
“We have, your honor.”
“Very well. This case has 2 counts. On the first count of intoxicated vehicular manslaughter in the first degree…how do you find…”
“We find the defendant….guilty.”
After a pause, the judge moved on.
“On the second count of intoxicated vehicular manslaughter in the first degree….how do you find?”
“We find the defendant….guilty.”
The man sat in silence. Listening to everything but hearing nothing.
All he knew, was that after 4 years, it was finally over.
His wife and daughter had been taken from him, and only now could he properly mourn.
Having the man responsible being sentenced to whatever amount of years would never by adequate compensation for the years he will never get to have with the loved ones that the drunk driver took away.
But justice does not have feelings, it can only hope to provide some sort of closure.
For him…he had to find his own closure.
He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out the photograph that he had brought from home and walked over to the defendant.
The defendant’s eyes grew wide but he could not go anywhere.
The man looked him in the eye and handed his lawyer the photo and said,
“I want you take this photo of my wife and child with you to wherever you are headed. I want you to look at it….every day as a reminder of why you are there. I want you to know that I have forgiven you but I can not be at peace until they forgive you as well. Look at the picture and realize that someday you will be free and be able to live out your life but they…..”
Without finishing his statement, the man turned around and walked out of the courtroom.
He got back into his car and returned home.
He sat on the sofa in silence.
Listening to nothing but hearing his wife and daughter practicing her dance routine for the 7th grade recital that they never made it to because of the accident that took their lives.
He began to cry as he heard them practicing.
Through those tears, he knew that he would eventually find peace.