by Tony Domaille
coffee with brandy
‘Stalking is an insidious crime,’ said the Magistrate. ‘We impose a sentence of six months imprisonment, suspended for two years.’
Ryan nodded his acknowledgement of his sentence, though not the nature of the crime. How could it be insidious to love someone so much, you tried your best to make them see? How could he be criminalised for just trying to make her love him?
He looked across the courtroom to Emma. For a moment she returned his gaze, but then looked away and hurried to the door. Ryan moved, but his solicitor caught his arm.
‘Don’t be ridiculous, Ryan. You know you can’t approach her in any way. You’re lucky not to be in prison.’
Ryan nodded, gently pulling his arm free. He put on a smile to disguise what he really thought. The man called himself a defence solicitor, but had he really defended Ryan? He’d made no attempt to show the court how much Ryan was in love with Emma and how cruel she was in not returning his affections. No, it had all been, ‘My client recognises the error of his ways,’ and ‘The defendant fully accepts his actions have caused distress.’
What did any of them know about distress? He was the one who spent days and nights outside Emma’s home, hoping to see her but with her never answering the door. He was the one who called and texted and wrote a thousand messages of love that she ignored. You wouldn’t treat a dog as badly, thought Ryan. If you did, they’d have you for neglect.
He shook his head as he recalled her crying when she gave evidence. What did she have to cry about? She was loved. She was adored. But what did she give him? Nothing but petty calls to the police.
‘This was your last chance, Ryan,’ said his solicitor. ‘You have to move on. Forget about Emma.’
Ryan smiled again and held out his hand.
‘Thank you for representing me.’
The solicitor’s handshake was hard. ‘If you harass her again, I won’t be able to keep you out of jail. No one will.’
‘I understand completely,’ said Ryan, and he walked out of the court room, the free man he knew he deserved to be.
Outside it was raining. Ryan pulled up the collar of his coat and thought about what to do next. He understood that Emma might have found the court process difficult. Not as difficult as it had been for him but, with a little time to reflect, she would see how brave he had been in showing his love for her. She would see him a new light. All it needed was time. A day or two and he’d call. See if she’d like to talk.
‘My love for you won’t end here, Emma,’ he whispered.
He didn’t see the car mount the pavement. And he didn’t see the look on Emma’s face at the wheel, but his love for her did end there.
About the auhtor
Tony is an award-winning stage script writer and director with more than twenty published plays. He also writes short stories and has been published by Café Lit, Your Cat Magazine, Seven Magazine, and a number of anthologies. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter