[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
For §§ 1-110 (Chapters 1-18), see here.
The Final Six Months: Payback
Revenge should have no bounds.
Shakespeare Hamlet IV.vii.141
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 132
Chapter 21 (1 of 2): Recovering
I have taken a shower.
The sheets are clean, and folded back; chilled blasts from the air conditioning have been playing over their cotton surfaces.
It is not quite night yet, and I sprawl across the bed, pulling up the sheets and blanket. I burrow into the warming coolness. The muggy day’s threat of rain is finally made good, and as I begin to wander off into that delicious liminal world between not fully awake and almost asleep, the drops begin to fall outside. First I imagine hearing the wet sound of cars on the streets far below, and then the drops come cascading down against the window in greater urgency. As my eyelids flicker the rain steadies.
Why is one of my favorite things lying in bed and almost falling asleep while it rains outside?
It is harmless enough: it promotes no war, wastes no electricity, uses no fossil fuels, injures no dolphins or whales. But there is a peacefulness beyond description about this posture. The tensions of the day dissipate, the body unfurls, the mind relaxes. There is nothing but the ineffable now.
If I do drift off for a minute or two, a crack of thunder prods me awake, as if to assure that I shall not remain unconscious and unaware of the delicious state in which I find myself. Since I have not pulled down the shades, I can see a flash of lightning briefly illuminate my bedroom as it bounces around the pale walls. The shower increases in intensity.
The grasses and flowers and trees are now soaking up the rain and I almost think I can scent through the windows their aromas blended with those of wet and moistened earth. The smell seems to hover in the still bedroom and invade the corners. I curl up into a fetal ball on the fresh sheets and savor the gentle assault on my sensorium. Once more I stray onto the perimeters of sleep, and now the sound of falling rain pulls me back to wakefulness.
Rain purifies – the leaves, the limbs, the streets, the homes. Nature here recapitulates, macrocosm to microcosm. I am washed clean as I lie and as I listen, caressed, gentled – here, in my own bed, in my own place, a few days after my acquittal in the trial for murder.
As I fight the insistence of state-altering Morpheus, finally fluttering off into languid sleep, I dance through the events of my joyful, exultant days since that crushing burden was lifted from me.
It is the first Friday in August, a week after my acquittal. It has been a week at times peaceful, at times frightening, at times numbing. To say that I am grateful that things turned out as they did is to make the understatement of the new millennium. But sometimes I would allow my frantic imagination to run its private screenings of lurid mind-movies of myself in prison, eating horrible food, fighting off the hairy bull dykes, being alternately bored and frightened to death on a daily basis, deteriorating year by year, reduced ultimately to something sub-human. It seemed at times unbelievable that I had dodged the bullet.
I knew of course that I had not killed Trinh, but knowing something about the disgraceful circus that the American criminal justice system has become, I was still enormously grateful to Natalie Siu and her co-counsel Danny Hochstel – and the full power and resources of Wu, Hisen, Blair & Balthazar, from the limo drivers and chefs on up to the investigators, researchers and the litigators themselves – for mounting the kind of powerhouse defense they had. I got my money’s worth – all one point three million of it. This was definitely part of what enraged me about the whole thing: yes, I could afford this kind of defense to clear myself, but what about the poor schmuck who toiled away honestly at fifty grand a year before taxes and deductions? She’d have ended up in prison for life, innocent, fucked by the fucking system. But me, earning my big bucks in an illegal trade protected by the same power-players who supposedly were upholding fairness and justice and the American way – I had the means. And people wonder why women turn tricks? Justice was like everything else in America: you bought the best your financial means could afford, so make sure you had plenty of those means.
TO BE CONTINUED