3.29.2011

i can wait

I got a family friend who is locked up for murder. She got caught up with drugs and sex and the party. One day she invited a drifter to her house to do some handyman work. They got involved in the drugs and sex and party and at the end of it he was dead and buried in her back yard. Now here is where the story gets fuzzy. The facts are as above, they partied, fucked and did drugs. He ended up dead and buried. Several years later a particularly strong thunderstorm roared through and washed away enough top soil to reveal the man's hand and her roommate was surprised. The body was exhumed and found to have been burned over and chopped up and an autopsy, which suggested death by strangulation, was ultimately inconclusive. It took seven months and the help of America's Most Wanted for the body to be identified. Our friend was arrested and she said it was self defense and that she got scared and buried the body. The state says she should have called the police instead of burying the body. There were enough inconsistentcies in her story for the prosecution to get her on manslaughter charges and she is currently serving a seven to 20 year sentence. She might have been able to claim self defense at trial, or might have been convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. Taking a plea was a safe bet for all involved. According to court documents, the murder took place in March 2000 and the body was found in July 2003. In those three years I saw this friend many times, both at family parties for my brother and I and also occasionally at the Stardust where she worked as a 21 dealer. She was a friend. When I graduated high school she gave me $5o and wrote me a nice card encouraging me to do my best at college. When I graduated college I would have had to write her in care of the bureau of prisons and my letter would have been scanned and censored. My dad remains in touch with her, they've been friends for nearly two decades. Her letters suggest a maturity and sense of purpose that might have been missing during the years of endless party. Two years into her term she was diagnosed with breast cancer and has received treatment. Her cancer is in remission and she is 45 years old. She is also now eligible for parole. Whether or not this happens, I can't say, but all developments suggest she'll soon be starting her life over. I shouldn't write that I admire someone who choked a drifter to death, even if it was in self defense. Yet, I admire her. She got caught up in something awful but has otherwise handled herself with dignity. Her letters are thoughtful, introspective and warm. Someday soon she'll be able to restart her life on the outside. Someday eventually there will be other family parties for her to attend. I'd like to tell her that I succeeded at college and still remember her laughing and sneaking me beers at my brother's HS graduation party.

I have a hard time being patient. It's not one of my better qualities. Whatever I want, I probably wanted it fifteen minutes ago and I'm unhappy to have waited that long. I talk a good game about taking the long view but mainly want what I want, and right now. It's been made pretty apparent that I need some more patience with a few things in my life so I've been thinking of this friend, locked away, doing her time and waiting to restart her life. She wrote my dad once, telling him that we're all doing our time, one way or the other and all we can do is make the best of the world around us, words for me to take to heart and words as a reminder.

Take my time. Be patient. Have faith.

1 comment:

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