Day Four – Disenchantment Sets In

My thoughts turn to the witnesses of the day – the doctors, the friends, the detectives, the officers – and I am both touched and moved by the parade of life that marches through the courtroom. Each one of them has their own story, their own multitude of stories, but for this day we each play a small part in the victim’s and defendant’s stories.

Compounding the inherent tragedy of the case is the fact that I cannot talk about it. Normally, when keeping secrets, this doesn’t phase me, but in some way it would be such a relief to explain what we were going through to someone. Instead, I am forbidden to speak to my husband, my family, and even the other jurors until it’s time to deliberate. Mostly I want to talk to Andy, who, up to a certain point, has been largely supportive. He knows all about the process, he knows what to ask, what to look for, but beyond vague general logistics, which I don’t know enough about to even begin to question, I can’t say anything.

Part of me knows it’s bugging him to not be able to ask about it, but his police officer background prohibits him from even subtly tempting me to talk – and to be completely honest (because this won’t be posted until after the fact) if he asked I would probably tell all.

(A side-note to illustrate his police officer mentality: when Andy and I first met I asked him whether he’d let me go if he had pulled me over for speeding. He said no. I sweetened the hypothetical deal with the offer of a blow-job. He said doubly no, and he’d probably charge me with whatever a propositioned blow-job would merit. That’s my husband. In our home the law comes before love. That comes with its own maddening repercussions, but that’s another diatribe for another day.)

All I know is that after this fourth day of jury duty, I have already been changed in some small way. This evening, a strange thing happens. Normally I pick out my outfits the day before I wear them (with the exception of special events or vacations, which are sometimes planned months in advance – as evidence, I am currently plotting what to wear for events in October and November of this year). Tonight, I don’t feel like selecting what to wear for the next day. It feels like such a ridiculous concern – a meaningless exercise of pointless futility in the face of more pressing matters – life and death matters, in fact – and though I know that appearance definitely counts for something, it only matters, well, when it matters, and what I wear the next day will have no bearing on the defendant or the victim. It will change nothing.

In the past I would have said I would fight to the death for the right to be fashionable, and for the importance of how people present themselves to the world – and one day I may take up that baton again – but for now I am not inspired. Tonight that sort of reckless hyperbole seems inappropriate and in dismal taste.

I know this will not last.

I know this momentary raised consciousness will dissipate, and I selfishly welcome the day it does. One doesn’t take kindly to having one’s happily ignorant delusions shattered. The term “disenchanted” is largely misunderstood. I don’t want my enchantments dispelled. No one should. And somehow, this is what the trial is doing – whether I want it to or not.

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