My brother’s trial continues, and I remain in the conference room that I described the other day. Mainly what I do here is listen to music, surf the web, and read (Today I finished an early one from Lawrence Block and I’m working my way back through one of the Travis McGee series — on Friday I read a pop history book on the Regency era.) I exchange greetings with the occasional participant, passerby, or bailiff, and some of my parents’ neighbors have come in to say hello, but in many respects, I feel like a contestant on an old game show, sitting in “the soundproof booth” while other contestants do their thing.
Occasionally, however, I come outside my little room and walk down the hallway to get a drink of water or a Dr. Pepper, or just to stretch my legs. When I come back, I look through the windows of the doors to the courtroom proper. I never see my brother there — the angle is wrong. However, I sometimes see a member of the prosecution team, and usually a camera or two.
I also see people I don’t know, siting on the prosecution’s side of the room. I’ve come to recognize the media people, although it remains at the level of nodding acquaintance. I don’t recognize the others — I wonder if they’re people who knew my parents, but some of them seem too young for that. An African-American woman of middle years shows up each day and sits on that side as well.
As I said, I don’t think I know them, and I wonder a little bit about why they’re here. When I see them, they don’t seem filled with some sort of prurient fascination, but without some sort of personal connection, I don’t know why they’re here — the seats aren’t that comfortable.
For that matter, I can’t really explain why I’ve chosen to be here — I may not testify until next week, after all. So why do I come and sit in a small room from about 8 until about 5 each day? I still don’t have a logical answer for that — maybe a sense of duty, maybe the feeling that I represent my parents in a more direct way than the State. Maybe it’s just that I have an inexplicable sense that this is the right place for me to be, and I’ve decided to listen to that.
When I wrote my parents’ obituary, Mrs. M gave me some wise advice: “Say as much as you want to say, because it will be the only time you’ll be able to say it in this way.” I think this situation is like that. I likely won’t be needed, apart from my testimony. Nonetheless, this is something that I hope will only happen once, and so I think I need to be here, just in case.
In case of what? It doesn’t matter, really. It’s just the right place for me to be, even on an unseasonably hot Kentucky afternoon.