“...What happens is of little significance compared with the stories we tell ourselves about what happens. Events matter little, only stories of events affect us.” ― Rabih Alameddine
Chapter 26 - C
They started to come at ten. When our livingroom was filled with reporters, the cameras focussed on Cliff and me. I was honest with them all. I was flummoxed, giddy -- and baffled.
I’m not quite sure what all we said in front of those cameras. We tried to be authentic. But we were surprised, shocked at the decision - mostly giddy.
Even the journalists noticed it. "You are giddy," one of them said with astonishment. And I thought I had been hiding it.
By the end of the day, we were suddenly aware that this time the discussion, the reporting, was not only confined to Winnipeg – we were getting calls from across the country.
Thank goodness in the evening we had tickets for the theater, and went to watch Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, a domestic comedy. Because we had to change our Tuesday tickets at the last minute, we found ourselves in a new place in the theater - fourth row, right in the middle. It was all very close and immediate.
At one point, Sonia and Masha burst into a chorus of tears, sobbing in unison as they together realize the futility of their lives - the absurdity of it all. As they cried, Cliff and I laughed - and laughed - until we realized we were enjoying this part far too much.
The next day reality set in, as I began to see the news reports in the Winnipeg Free Press. The headlines ran, “New Trial for convicted killer.” The articles explained that “… the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a new trial for the man convicted of killing her. The high court issued its decision in the appeal in the case of Mark Edward Grant who was convicted of second-degree murder in 2011 for the 1984 slaying of 13-year-old Candace Derksen. The provincial Crown will now have to decide whether or not to try Grant a second time.”
I printed out the Judgement. It was clear, “The trial judge erred in law in treating the evidence relating to the alleged abduction…” and then later on…. “The trial judge’s errors were clearly not minor….”
As in all judgments, it cited precedents that meant very little to me, until I reach the paragraph numbered 57, where it goes into details of similarity. The sentence that grabs me again is, “In neither case was there evidence of physical or sexual assault.”
They had believed the Defence. They had taken him at face value!
At the end, it again said, “The judge’s legal errors were clearly not minor…. This case must be re-tried in any event.”
Slowly I began to realize the implications – there was no resolution in sight. I had been hoping that the Supreme Court of Canada decision would be to uphold the verdict of guilty – not necessarily that Grant be held in jail, but I yearned for a simple answer to the public question, "Did he do it?" I just wanted simple resolution – defining resolution as that act of solving a problem, concluding a dispute or disagreement. For an author, it's that ending of the story where all the complications of the plot are resolved or at least simplified.
After all, I have inherited the middle child syndrome, where I yearn for harmony and agreement in the family setting. I am also a Mennonite - and you know what they stand for - peace at all cost. I also grew up in the hippie era and still adore John Lennon and his lovely song, "Imagine." Especially that one phrase - And the world will live as one.
I had given up the hope of closure a long time ago – but when Grant was charged, and then with the trial, I had started to hope for a resolution.
Reading the Supreme Court of Canada judgement, I realized there might never be resolution and I had to grieve that loss of hope.
I went down into my studio – which is actually just a corner in my laundry room - and for the first time I had that urge to paint again. We have an art show coming up at the end of the month that I have been asked to join – but have not felt in any way inspired. Last night I went down the stairs feeling that old familiar feeling – wanting to create something – but I wondered what I would do. I knew it would include the scripture pages that I love so much, some paint and a canvas.
I leafed through the left-over Bible pages first ... then I picked up my paint. To my surprise, I wasn’t drawn to white this time. I chose some gray paint, picked up some cloth – and started to put it all together.
When I was finished, I had covered a little canvas with a very thin cloth, gray paint – well not actually gray – more like pewter.
Pewter! Flummoxed! No Resolution. Gray! Ancient words!
And then somewhere I found glitter and scattered it into an arc. I was quite pleased with it.
Among the gray there is always some glitter.
The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness. James Gates Percival
(... to be continued)