This doesn't define youI lay in the twilight contemplating my fate and worrying myself sick that Karen and the rest of my friends and even my family would desert me in light of my heinous assault. Hour after hour I lay in fear. One might imagine I was bored but my heart still pounded and my stomach still churned and my mind still raced so there was no room anywhere for boredom.
Suddenly my peep-hole opened (obviously with a clang) and an eye appeared, it closed just as suddenly. Then my cell door opened and a policeman stood on the threshold. "Well, Mr Popular," he said. "I have a letter for you from Karen, do you want to read it?" "I can't let you keep it, you'll have to read it here in front of me and hand it back." My heart went in to complete overdrive and I began to shake. How much more of this heart-racing torture can I take I wondered. I really just wanted to faint. I wanted to collapse on the floor of my cell and let someone else clear up my mess. Clear up the mess that was ME, just sweep me up into a bucket and pour me down the drain. Was this my denoument from Karen. I expected it was.
I must have muttered that I couldn't read it without my glasses and they'd been taken from me. He scampered off for a few moments and came back with them. I could see he was still glowing from Karen's presence. She had clearly put her spell on him and probably twisted her hair round one of her fingers and given him that smile, while twisting him round her little finger. I put my glasses on, he handed me the letter and with only slightly more fear and trepidation than I feel right now I began to read:
My dearest Larry,
I will not be able to see you or speak to you as they won't let you out or me in. I just had to let you know how much support and love there is for you. Everyone is so worried about you; none as much as me. This does not define you, but it has brought to a head a lot of the issues you have been dealing with.
Maybe now you will stop suffering in silence. I knew something was up, I just wish I could have been with you more, that we could have taken ourselves away from this toxic situation.
You should probably know that I have also met with Liza. She came to Dave's when we were all there (for you) last night.
Eric is devastated for you and is so worried, Jill, Tina, Dave, everyone.
I want you to know that you are not alone and you will get through this. I love you very much and I know it will be a long road. You have to get yourself together and face whatever is going to come with dignity and above all honesty.
I'm thinking about you every second.
All my heart, Karen, xxx
PS. Myra is home and her mum said it looks a bit better today. xx
I folded the letter and handed it back to the policeman and thanked him. He took it from me and motioned for my glasses. I handed them over and he said "You're a popular guy." I sniffed hard, bit my lip and looked at the floor. He gently shut the heavy metal door and locked it. I turned away from him and immediately broke-down and cried, in fact I howled. I fell to my knees, cradled my head in my hands and the dam broke inside me and days (actually years) of pent-up emotions flooded unhindered out over my concrete bed. The tears streamed down my cheeks just like they are now, but for different reasons. I sobbed with shoulder-shrugging intensity until I was spent.
Now clearly I was relieved at Karen's letter. She had taken away, with a few strokes of her pen, my biggest fears. Now I could face whatever punishment was due, knowing she cared, and was still there for me. However, have you met me? What I failed to do was pay any attention to the message within. If only I had taken it on-board, things might have turned out different. Anyway, with hindsight I know that couldn't have happened. Not then, that would come later. With hindsight I know that a darkness was spreading through my mind like a creeping cancer, invading and distorting my thoughts. Some trained in the field say it was PTSD. A little dramatic you might think but it's not my diagnosis. With that and the WALL I had built around me Karen had no chance. I was impermeable and impenetrable to all emotion even if this episode had begun to create hairline cracks.
It would take a whole lot more than this to bring down MY wall. My wall was a sturdy edifice and I'd been proudly building it for many years. In fact, to the backdrop of the Beatles' Love Me Do, the foundations were robustly laid many years ago.
On a sunny summer afternoon when I was just a 7-year-old boy ...