First Day of Class
That first day is so important. We as a family are breathless as we enter the Law Courts Building and make our way to room 230 - the room with that beautiful ornate ceiling, that long judge's bench in the front, the witness stand to the side, the two counsel tables, the empty jury box, those rows of visitor gallery seats and of course that big monstrous prisoner's box right in the middle of it all.
This time it feels more like going back to school, wondering about the new teacher, wondering where will we sit, who will be in the classroom, and what will be the subject of the day.
The four of us find our seats and I immediately pull out my new notebook.
We stand when the Judge enters. The crown remains standing and gives us what feels like the course outline, the list of potential witnesses. .
The first trial,the names on that list were unfamiliar. This second time I know them all.
Top of the witness list is David Wiebe. the last person to see Candace alive.
He takes the stand and takes us right back to his school years - 32 years ago.He had given Candace a face wash with snow that last fateful day. It had been a fun, intimate moment for Candace. She told me about it on the telephone. Her last call to me. She had a crush on David. She had been so happy.
I notice his hair is gray.
I am suddenly very aware that Candace's friend, Heidi, who had sat with us during the other trial isn't with us. She died of cancer about a year ago.
I notice the reporters sitting in the front row are all very young.
This is David's third time taking the witness stand regarding the same incident, prelim, first trial and now the second trial. Three times! He is confident of his answers. The first time he was just nervous, the second time more angry - and this time more confident. His answers are precise, but there is a very somber air about him - a new sadness.
The next three witnesses begin to describe the day her body was found. It was cold they keep saying - -29 degrees.
"She looked like a doll," says one of them.
There had been no panic in finding her. It was obvious to all of them that she was dead. Why? "There was a frost crystallized build-up on her body."
None of this is a surprise for us. Even though the words still evoke unsettling images, the sting is gone.
More than anything It feels like a class lesson. In the afternoon - it even begins to drag.
Frankly it feels very much like taking a course over for the second time.
Obviously we didn't quite get something right the first time.
That explains the new intensity to move through the information quickly, thoroughly and efficiently.
There's an urgency to be clear about every little detail.
We don't want to take this class over again.
We don't want to fail the test again!
“Yeah, about the test...The test will measure whether you are an informed, engaged, and productive citizen... and it will take place in schools and bars and hospitals and dorm rooms and in places of worship. You will be tested on first dates, in job interviews, while watching football, and while scrolling through your Twitter feed. The test will judge your ability to think about things other than celebrity marriages, whether you’ll be easily persuaded by empty political rhetoric, and whether you’ll be able to place your life and your community in a broader context. The test will last your entire life, and it will be comprised of the millions of decisions that, when taken together, will make your life yours. And everything, everything, will be on it." - John Green