Less than 5,400 minutes and counting.
When the time is up, at exactly 2pm on 9th August 2017, I and everyone else involved in the criminal case, as well as the killer, will be sitting back in Meilen Court for the Sentencing.
There is no frame of experience to help me prepare for this. There is nothing in my past that I can use as a point of reference for what is coming. I am at a loss as to how to deal with next Wednesday’s Court hearing.
So, I count down the minutes and live my life as best I can until then. I scale time down to a measurable dimension and encase it in a clock where it is forced to stay the course so I can follow it to the point I am aiming for.
It’s as if I were travelling in a spacecraft: calmly and gently I float through space-time. There is nothing I can actively do because I have to wait until the appointed day. So I keep breathing, eating, sleeping, doing the things I usually do. I know exactly at what time we will land on that far away planet. The clock ticks and I count back. With every minute, every hour that passes, I am pushed further along time.
At some point, late in the afternoon of 9th August, I will again stand on the steps of the Courthouse. The hearing will be over and we will know what the Judges have decided but have yet to tell us.
I can see myself there, close to the shores of Zurich lake, relief and sadness and exhaustion all wrapped up in that moment on that summer’s afternoon. I can also see myself sitting in the Courtroom, watching the man who killed my son rock backwards and forwards in his seat as evidence is given in the trial. It is also me I observe weeping in the night. Further back, I can see Alex running up to me, holding car keys and smiling. Further still, he is playing with Thunderbirds toys and chattering to himself. And getting his first tooth. Suddenly, I slice forward, and I am me, years ahead from now, looking back at how I did not know how I would feel that day on the steps of the Court.
Time is not linear. We know that from experience. Alex is alive, and dead, and so am I. All now, all happening right this instant.
It’s no different with grief. People refer to it as happening in waves. I think they mean like waves of water washing over them, but actually, to me it’s waves of time. Energy and emotion overlapping and flowing and crashing into one another. Love and rage, birth and death, all mixed up, all at the same time. We remember, then we feel the grief, then it’s in the present even though it’s in the past and future.
It makes no sense, but then it doesn’t have to. Time is circular, it bends, it comes in waves. As does grief.
And so it will be on the day of the Sentencing.
There is no way of knowing now how I am going to feel when I emerge into the light of this new post-Sentence world. Will I be relieved? Will I feel elated or numb? What will I think as I stand on the steps of the Court? Will those that love Alex feel that justice was done?
And yet I know already how it will be. But like the Judges’ decision, I simply haven’t been shown yet. No doubt I will hug my still-living children, and my friends, and thank the Judges and those who stood by us. But perhaps I won’t. When all is said and done, it will be how it already happened. Alex will be at my side and he will be nowhere. My grief will make room for love, and desolation for hope and despair. Space and time. It’s all happening now. His birth, his death, my birth, my death. Connected forever.
The Sentence will be what will be. I just need to get there, gently, on the linear side of time because I am already there now, with Alex newly born in my arms, and on my death bed as my soul rises up to meet his.
© Katja Faber 2018