A man sits.
Christmas. To him it doesn't seem like Christmas.
He used to love Christmas. The presents. He loved to buy presents.
He would travel far and wide for just the right gift for the ones he loved. He really enjoyed wrapping presents. He'd buy special ribbons and bows and lace. He loved to give presents. In fact he loved to give of himself to every one.
As long as he can remember, he lived for Christmas. The singing, the smells, the smiles - it warmed him.
Nothing warms him now. He feels cold. Alone.
It started benignly enough. He had kidney stones and a back ache. His doctor prescribed Vicodin.
Vicodin. That's what did it. That's where it started. Kidney stones, a back ache and Vicodin.
He liked Vicodin too much. The elixer from hell. He got hooked.
His supply ran out. He wanted more. He broke the law.
He was embarrassed. He's still embarrassed.
He recovered. Or so he thought. Therapy. Counseling. It was tough but he kicked it. Completed what was required by the state and it was expunged -it never happened or so he thought.
The state passed a law. All convicted felons must submit a DNA sample for the database. He complied.
He hears a moan or maybe a groan. He realizes it's coming from him. He's shaking his head now. Hard. This must be a dream. A horrible dream. A nightmare.
"For shame" He says to noone.
He put his trust in the system . . . and here he sits.
But he thinks of the woman. The woman he never knew. How her life was mercilously taken from her. He feels bad for her family. He feels bad for his family. Christmas is bad. Christmas time is the worst. Too many lost Christmases.
Justice. American justice. Such a hollow word. Such a farce. He relied on it. He depended on it. He believed that the truth would out. That the jury would see and believe the truth.
But that didn't happen. It didn't take long. They deliberated only a few hours. Friday afternoon. Not long at all. Get home for the weekend. After a long trial the jury had their verdict. Fast. It was Friday. The weekend.
The word rang in his head.
His mouth went dry now just as it did when he actually heard the word. He could not move. Paralysis. His mind thought of the Christmases that would never be. The gifts he would never be able to buy and wrap. The suprised and happy faces of the ones he loved.
Every year it was getting harder. He wanted to yell. He wanted to scream. Noone wanted to listen.
He didn't know, never met, didn't run in the same circles the woman but she was dead. His DNA was on her and he was in prison for life without parole.
"for shame . . . "