The crimson stone – Preview #3

I had nursed the naïve hope that my days visiting the police department were over, but all the upsetting memories held in that modern building resurface with vehemence as its unique architecture comes into sight. Dom had called me in the middle of innumerable nights to get him out of there; if he wasn’t drunk, he had ended up in a fight. It seemed to never end. I lived that life for seven years; because despite his flaws he’s always been a good man, because when you are young you think love alone can perform the miracle of fixing people. It’s the biggest lie ever told. The night I found myself with no money for his bail was the night I said ‘enough’. I regretted that choice more times than I’ll ever care to admit – and sometimes still do – albeit aware it was the right one, like I blamed myself countless times for not trying harder to fix him. So the day Hannah was arrested for a stupid act of bravado my sense of guilt reached new altitudes. It felt like a failure both as a wife and as a mother, and it took months and the different perspective of a new life outside the city to realize I had done my best instead and to promise myself I’d never get to cross those doors again.

So what am I doing here now, breaking that promise for someone I haven’t met in half my life, someone who asked for a kind of help I probably cannot grant anyway? And why me for a start? Christopher should already have a lawyer, shouldn’t he? And even if he doesn’t, the cream of the MBA is likely already in line to defend him against whatever charges he was pressed on. But the only line that can be seen now are the media vans, parked like vultures in front of the building. A sudden sense of uneasiness and inadequacy takes hold of me as I dash past the reporters and entrench myself into the police headquarters like a refugee seeking for asylum.

“Well, well, look who’s back in town!” The gravelly, enthusiastic welcome is a pleasant reminder that I still have friends here.

“Hey Matt!” With the most genuine grin I haste to hug the man who helped me out of many troubles, sometimes even of financial kind. To call him friend is reductive, during my years in Boston he’s become family, one of those corpulent uncles who always gets your back, no matter how much you screwed it. He and his wife are one of the very few things I missed when leaving town.

“I haven’t seen you since…”

Easily guessing what he’s about to say, I stop him mid-sentence and slowly release from his embrace. “Please, don’t remind me. How are you doing, instead? I thought you’d be retired by now?” I question, peering at the tremendous amount of cockades and stripes that hang proud from his uniform.

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