“As I stood over his lifeless body, I was forced to wonder: was this the result of my actions, or his?
After all this time, I expected it to be difficult. I didn't think the trigger would pull so smoothly, so quickly. I figured my mind would race and I would instantly regret it, but I didn't. My mind was clearer than ever. I was happy with myself. Was something wrong with me? Or had I finally cured myself of my ailment?
I hoped that time would tell, but it never did. I went on living my life as usual, and rarely even thought about him. When I did, it was relieving. I thought about that day like it was my saving grace. When my mind haunted me, thinking about the murder calmed me down.
He wasn't a good man by any means, and many would argue that he deserved what I gave him, but that alone doesn't justify me taking his life. Nothing could ever give me that right. And yet, that is exactly what I did.
Something is surely wrong with me, that I know for sure. What I am also sure of, is my fate. My judgement will come, either at the hands of God or my own.
Again, however, I have to wonder. Was what I did the result of my actions or his? If we are born in innocence, then does that not mean that deviance is thrust upon us? And if that is the case, at what point does responsibility shift from society to us? Who decides where that point is? Us? God? Lucifer? Does the point even exist at all? I do not believe it does. I believe the point of responsibility shifting is purely a matter of perspective. You say he did not deserve to die, but you haven't seen what I have seen. In my eyes, he deserved to die.
You ask me how I could have committed such a heinous act. I ask you: how could you have let me?
After years of it I just couldn't continue. I couldn't go on telling my friends and family not to worry. The bruises spread across my skin like a plague and scars marked me like a tally, even though I had lost count. The pain was the worst. I ached every day. It affected my work, it wouldn't even let me relax. I was in constant agony, and that is only the physical part. My mind was in even worse pain.
I lived every day of my life in fear, always watching over my shoulder for the next barrage. You may say that I should have left, but you have no idea how hard I tried. You have no idea how much I struggled, how much I fought with myself. I wanted to leave him, but a relationship like that is like a prison cell. It traps you and breaks you down until you no longer recognize yourself. You start to think that you deserve it. You start to think that it's warranted. All of the pain, the mental struggle, the social isolation, it all makes sense for some twisted, evil reason.
That is why I did it. I had no choice. The gun belonged to him, it was legal and registered in his name. He had threatened me with it many times, and even hit me with it. I had taken it with me before. It comforted me to know that I had a way out tucked away in my purse. It was small enough not to be noticeable, but it meant hope to me. It meant I could escape if I needed to. The ironic part is that I never even thought about using it on him until that day.
We were walking along the boardwalk, the weather was nice. He had been drinking, and I knew that he wanted something from me. He pulled me down beneath the pier and started unbuckling his pants. He had that same grin on his face he always had. His breath smelled of beer as he tried to kiss me. I just gritted my teeth and tried to get through it as usual, but for some reason I just snapped this time.
He pushed me down to my knees with his pants around his ankles, and told me to look up and smile at him. I reached into my purse on the ground and turned the gun's safety off. He got angry and told me to look up and smile at him again. I obliged, giving him the biggest, happiest smile of my life, and put a bullet in his eye.
I don't want your sympathy. I don't want you to try and understand what I went through. All I want is true and honest justice.”
There was a pause that seemed to last hours after I finished speaking. The jury just sat, staring at me as if I were a ghost. The handful of people in the seats seemed upset but were containing their emotions. My lawyer wiped a tear from her eye as she looked down at her papers. The other lawyer just gazed at me. I couldn’t tell if he was angry or confused. It didn’t matter, not to me anyway.
I had hoped to be overcome with relief once my story was told, but I wasn’t. It was as if killing him lifted a weight from my shoulders, but the trial was a whole new weight. It pushed me down into my seat, making my shoulders ache. I fought through the pain as I got up from the stand. It tried to push me down onto the floor, but I didn’t let it. Even as I sat back down in my seat next to my lawyer, the weight persisted. It was a curse that I always hoped to get used to, but I had yet to.
The jury left to begin deliberations, and we waited for a verdict.
I used to have such a damned good life before I met that bastard! I was a literature professor. I had good friends, I dated, I was happy. I spent my days educating students of the great poets and writers of the world, and spent my nights with my first true love; Fyodor Dostoyevsky. He taught me all I ever needed to know about the world. It was love at first sight when I read Crime and Punishment. You may think it is a dark way to learn of the world, but the darkness is what makes the light shine brighter. Without evil, there can be no good. That is just one of the many lessons he taught me.
It was a rainy afternoon when I met him. He seemed like such a genuine guy. He seemed like the kind of guy I could trust with my life. He was the only guy to really get over my walls and under my skin. He was the head of security at the University, and came to my classroom one day when one of my students accidentally set off the fire alarm. He taught me how to reset the alarm. It was an easy fix, but I chose to forget so he could come back to show me again. It’s such a cheesy story, but I loved it, and I loved him.
After we got married, however, he started to change. He started to get aggravated at little things and yell at me. I convinced him to talk to a therapist a couple of times, but when she struck a nerve with his father, he stopped going. He never spoke of his father, and I had a pretty good idea why. From there, our fairytale turned into a nightmare.
The jury continued to deliberate, often asking for pieces of evidence from the courtroom. The weight still pushed down on my shoulders. I tried to stretch my arms, but it didn’t do much good. The pain persisted evermore.
After roughly seven hours, the bailiff instructed the courtroom to rise as the jury entered.
“Has the jury reached a verdict?” the judge asked.
“Yes, your honor,” the first juror stated.
“On the charge of first degree murder, how do you find the defendant?”
“On the charge of second degree murder, how do you find the defendant?”
“On the charge of voluntary manslaughter, how do you find the defendant?”
“I do not feel as though jail time is necessary. I believe that the defendant acted in self-defense, and should receive the lowest sentence of a fine,” the judge stated.
I think he was talking to me, actually, but I had no response. I should have been happy. I got off. A fine? That’s nothing considering the fact that I killed a man. My lawyer tried to hug me in celebration, but I could barely even feel it. I couldn’t feel anything at all. The world had beaten me down so much that I was numb to even happiness.
I was free to go? Really? How could that be? Was that really justice? I killed someone, and I just had to pay a fine? It didn’t seem right, and feeling that way only worsened the pain on my shoulders. How could I be unhappy about this? I was finally free of all of it. But I wasn’t really. I mean he was gone, and the trial was over, but I wasn’t free. All these years, I suffered injustices. The world around me failed to stand and deliver. The difference between right and wrong was so misconstrued that in some twisted way, I think I was actually hoping to go to prison. At least then I would know that justice still existed. At least then I would know that not everyone gets away with wrongdoing.
But alas, just as he got away with the way he treated me, I got away with ending his life. It was a dark, sickening cycle that I was sure would never end.
I’ve since then returned to my one true love. The mad Russian continues to teach me of the world around me. I’m growing, I’m learning, I’m healing. I don’t know for sure where I will end up, I don’t know how much time I have left on this earth. Perhaps some day I will see true justice served, rather than sympathy taking its place. Perhaps I will see nothing of the sort, because the world I live in is much different from the world the people around me seem to live in. Perhaps, at times, evil must prevail so that good can prevail as well.
As Dostoyevsky said; “The darker the night, the brighter the stars. The deeper the grief, the closer is God!” Truer words have never been spoken, my friend.