The court stenographer reminds me of Sandy-what’s-her-name, quiet and proud, interior, aloof. I always wanted Sandy-what’s-her-name. She stood tall and straight. An athlete, a dancer. She walked softly, steady on her feet, blonde pony tail metronome. I thought she was, well, I thought she was beautiful. We talked all the time but I never knew her at all. I asked her to the Jr. High prom or maybe the high school prom. She said no. And then she smiled her lovely, sweet, sad smile.
It seems bizarre to me that I keep thinking of Sandy as I sit here in the courtroom during a criminal trial of a friend. He is facing five years for a felony count of possession of pornography. The expert witnesses are explaining how his bipolar disease had caused his drug abuse, which led to his hanging out with the hooker who led him to the porno sites which became the possession in question. It is very sad . He is my friend. I have been told that I have the same disease. Bi polar maybe, more likely addiction. Mine came on at about age nineteen. I abused drugs for forty years but have never been charged with possession of pornography. Or done hard time. Or died.
I keep trying to listen to the witnesses but mostly I watch the court stenographer. The judge gives my friend five years and then suspends the sentence. He puts him on probation in the care of the facility where he is still in treatment.
Something good has happened here or at least it seems to be good at this moment. I remember, as we walk down the hallway in the company of my friend and his Vietnam veteran Marine Corps lawyer who uses a couple of “oorahs” to describe his feelings, that Sandy had a brother who beat me up once after school. He was always in trouble with the law. Given the choice of going to jail after some serious incident or enlisting in the Marines he chose the Marines. Years later I heard that he died at Khe Sahn.
I wonder if she still walks quietly. I wonder if we met accidentally would we say hello and talk awhile. Maybe we would nod, not really knowing how we knew each other. Maybe we would smile but just keep on with the hurry of the day, waiting for later, waiting for the drift into how it was way back when, when we were all bored silly, scared half to death, filled with promises and dreams, waiting forever for our lives to happen.
Photo Is © Michael Lebowitz – All Rights Reserved
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