Black is the color of a strangled rainbow.
At the end of each work day, on my walk to the train station, I pass by the courthouse. Normally, there are just a number of dejected-looking people leaning up against the edifice smoking and looking miserable. One person, in particular, is there every day. The skin about his eyes looks melted by age and a rough life. His eyes simply look at nothing.
On this day, I pass by a lawyer talking to an elderly man gripping a knob-tipped cane; he’s standing next to a young man. All three of them are dressed impeccably. As I walk past, I hear the young man saying something about separate rooms.
The lawyer asks the elderly man, ‘So you were never alone in a room with him?’
The old man plaintively and tiredly exclaims, ‘No!’
I keep walking but my mind is already at work on the obvious. My situation is less-than-ideal but it is by no means terrible. I sometimes remind myself that it could have been worse, much worse. She could have cheated or stolen from me. She could have tried to prevent me from ever seeing my kids again. She could have demanded a lot more than she did. Our divorce could have been acrimonious; it could have dragged on for months; we could have ended up hating each other. When you look at the whole idea of divorce, we both got off easy and, I think, we’re both better off because of it (but only time will tell on this one).
This man, though, I could only imagine what he was accused of based on that tiny snatch of conversation. Assuming the accusation was as dire as I imagined, that’s almost impossible to come back from. Once you’re accused of such a horrible act, even if proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that the accusation was wrong, you’re forever marked, I imagine. People who might have previously trusted you implicitly now hesitate.
It’s wrong for me to be grateful in spite of that man’s situation but it’s hard for me not to take some solace in the comparison. I’m still struggling. And when I can, I take what life has to give to make the struggle easier to bear.
I will go to sleep tonight feeling slightly less worse for wear but it would be a lie if I didn’t admit that my thoughts will be with that man tonight.