The First Days After Jury Duty

For the first two days following the trial, I feel on the very verge of crying. For someone who doesn’t cry that often, being in that state constantly for two days was a shock in itself. Now, on this beautiful sunny Saturday, the guilt has moved in. Not over our decision – as I said, I will always stand behind that – but over the fact that I’m enjoying a life while two boys aren’t. In the darkest and worst way, it’s as if the trial sucked every little joy out of life, because every time I reach towards a moment of fun – a splash in the pool, a Madonna song, a flower in bloom – I check myself with the thought of those boys.

I’ve cancelled two parties, a Gay Pride event and a weekend in Boston and the Cape. My heart is not in it. I’m sure it will be one day – maybe even soon – but not just yet.

There is also a residual emptiness and longing; in some strange, possibly sick way, I mourned because I didn’t want it to be over. I didn’t want to go back to what I knew before. Maybe part of me missed the other jurors. Two weeks was the stuff of summer camp and vacations, a period of time just long enough to make someone matter, then take them away without a scar, but with a memory. But what is a memory if not a scar?

I seek out my favorite person on the jury – a self-professed “fruit fly” with a gaggle of gay friends – who just happened to be our foreperson. I feel like she is the only one who might understand what I’m going through. Otherwise, I’m probably going to have to talk to a professional because the darkness from this trial isn’t lifting.

I stop by the bar where she works a shift, but she is on vacation until next week. I make some small talk with the other bartender, but I am still lost, still wishing for a connection with someone who has seen what I have seen. There are so few of us in the world.

In some sad way, the joy of living, as precarious as it always was, has been snuffed out. Slowly, I am getting it back, I feel certain I am on that path, and the laughs will come more readily in the following days, but it will take time.

For now, I have written enough on it. As raw as it remains, it’s time to end this chapter, to put my jury duty behind me and move on. I have let it out and done what I know how to do. The rest is not for paper or documentation. The rest I have to figure out in my head and heart. The rest is the hard part.

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