Monday, December 25, 2006

He loved her. He’d never stopped loving her. All through the dark days of the trial and beyond. Even now. Especially now.
He had written to her almost every day, and those letters were now in a brown cardboard filing box on the dry grass in front of him. The grass is greener on the other side of the fence. No. Not in winter. The greener grass was inside the prison grounds, fertilised, watered daily. But the green grass of the prison was bittersweet. Look, but don't expect to touch.
No, O’Toole preferred this dead clump under his cardboard box in front of the prison bus stop. The grass of free men. Crispy and dry, but give it some water an watch it come back to life.
He thought about giving her the letters, but realised that he probably never would. What would she think of them anyway? Some of them were sad and desperate and hardly spoke of the happiness of love. They’d betray the madness that he’d felt. The isolation. The anger. He never wanted her to know his anger.
O’Toole looked up as he heard a vehicle approaching. It was the bus. It drew to a halt at the kerb in front of the bus shelter and the doors slid open. The visitors for the day filed off. Women, children, men. Old. Young. Black, white, brown. Lawyers, mothers, fathers, girlfriends, wives, friends. For a small few it was a daily ritual, and O’Toole recognised a few faces.
No one looked at his face as they alighted. A few had stared at him as the bus had pulled in, but now he was the invisible man. So this is how it would be. At least there was no media.
Where was the media?
His release would have been shown on the scheduled media release for that week. There had been a storm of media presence at his incarceration eighteen months ago. Where were they now? Could he simply be yesterday’s news?
O’Toole boarded the bus, carrying the box in front of him, with his backpack slung over his shoulder. The driver gave him a brief look of appraisal as O’Toole fished for his wallet. His first purchase in eighteen months was a bus ticket to the city. Making his way down the aisle of the bus, he chose the seat nearest the centre doors, one that faced the aisle. Sitting down, he dropped the box in front of himself, between his feet and kept the backpack on his lap. He may have only spent eighteen months on the inside, but he’d learnt to keep his things close very early on in the piece.
The bus pulled away from the kerb and O’Toole swayed briefly with the momentum. Suddenly he was very tired. He still had a dull headache. Once again he found himself feeling his head where the chip had gone in and the stubble of his hair.
His next purchase would be a hat.

2 Comments:

Blogger ozbhoy said...

Keep writing.

I'm enjoying the story. It has a good narrative, a nice flow.

5 March 2005 at 11:23 am  
Anonymous OLS said...

A wee suggestion - you might want to edit your posts to include a link to the next installment at the end - that way people can read through without having to hunt for the next bit (esp if they come to the story late).

Mainly, I just wanted to let you know that I'm reading.

- OLS

14 March 2005 at 6:17 pm  

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