When she was narrating me this, I was getting the Goosebumps. Though being a lawyer it’s a routine job for me to come across the murder accused but something was different about her. She was not like other convicts I have met before in my career.
She was in her late twenties or early thirties and just so much attractive and gorgeous to be a murderer. Everything about her was so perfect that one can fall in love with her at the first sight but then there was something in her eyes, so much of melancholy. When she would tell you that she is a murderer you might not believe until you see in her eyes. Her eyes would tell you that she has done it but has no regrets. There’s no guilt or remorse but a sense of peace when she would tell you this.
Coming back to her story, ‘She was sitting in the Starbucks cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf. She had already called police and was just waiting for them to arrive and arrest her.’
“Why Starbucks Cafe?” I asked. “That’s where I met him first.” she said. “Met whom” I probed.
“I met Neil for the first time at Starbucks.” she replied. “I thought to end this at the same place while having his favorite coffee.” she said, and for the first time in last couple of days I have seen her eyes moist. “Why did you kill him?” I asked her. She just smiled and started staring at the ceiling. “Anaya, I won’t be able to help you if you hide things from me and don’t tell me everything what happened that day. Tell me what had happened that day and even before that because of which you took this step.” I asserted. She looked at me with those deep eyes and said “I don’t intend to get saved. It doesn’t matter if they shoot me or hang me dead. I am not guilty of what I have done. Someone has to do it, so I did.”
Jail attendant came to tell me that time for the meeting is over and that I should leave now. He was right, any which ways she was not telling me anything. How would I save her if she doesn’t tell me the complete truth? Everyone knows she has killed Neil but in what circumstances she had to do that. Chances of her intentions being wrong or not were equal and the more I see in her eyes the more I see innocence in her eyes. Then why is she accepting to this murder. All of this was getting so much confusing now. Amid this confusion I decided to stop at Neil and Anaya’s home. At first security guard didn’t allow me in but with a few bucks and a half bottle of rum he’d let me in.
It was a lovely two bedroom apartment I must say. The interiors, the paintings on the walls, the collection of music and the photos of Neil and Anaya together indicated they must have been so much in love once. How can anything go so wrong between a couple like Neil and Anaya which seem to be so much in love? I entered their bedroom and apart from some blood stains on the bed I also found a pack of used condoms suggesting that someone had made love here a night before the murder. Did Anaya find Neil with someone else making love and therefore killed him or because Neil saw her with someone else so Anaya killed him? My mind was cooking a lot of theories and I was even more confused than ever before.
I sat on the recliner besides the bed and lit up a cigarette. Just as I was looking for an ash tray on the corner table my hands lay on a piece of thick paper lying under the ash tray. I picked that up , it was a Birthday card from Anaya to Neil. Ohh, so it was also Neil’s birthday. The card read ‘Happy Birthday baby, I know you have been waiting for this day since forever because you know the gift. I promise you that you will get your gift today, no matter what. You know I have always loved you a lot and always will. PEACE FOREVER.‘ And as I flipped it there was ‘Happy birthday’ music playing from it.
I was shocked of what I just read. Neil was waiting for so long for some gift which Anaya was to give him on this birthday but then ‘PEACE FOREVER‘ in bold and CAPS, what does that indicate. Was she planning this murder since long while Neil was waiting for some gift? Nothing here is suggesting that there was any big fight before the murder and even Neil’s postmortem does not suggest that Neil fought to save himself. Was Neil sleeping when he was murdered? All these and many more questions were now arising in my head. Same Anaya whom I was considering innocent once was turning evil now.
I don’t know but everything was getting creepier now. I decided to leave that place and now only Anaya can save herself from the death sentence if she really wants to and for that she will have to tell me everything in detail and true.
The next morning, I went to meet her in jail once again in the hope of listening to her side of the truth. “Anaya, it was his birthday and you killed him. He was waiting for some gift while you were planning his murder. How can you do this? How can anyone do this Anaya? You merciless insensitive woman.” I said this to instigate her and also handled that birthday card to her. I was doing this deliberately, all these harsh things so that she speak up but all I could get were a couple of drops of her tears which fell down as she looked into that card. Then again without saying anything she just stared at the ceiling. There was the echo of the birthday song’s music as I was walking in the corridor for my way out of her cell.
The next morning I was waiting for her outside the courtroom where hearing of her case was to be held. For the first time in my career of 15 years I was so clueless about how to defend my client. As a defense lawyer it’s my job to defend her but then Anaya hasn’t spoken anything which can save her. There I saw her coming in the jail uniform and she had the same blue silk scarf tied on her wrist. She saw me staring at that scarf and said “He gave this to me.” she said smiling. In the courtroom too she did not try even once to defend herself and as a result she was given the death penalty.
After the verdict, as she came out of the courtroom surrounded by women police officers, there was a little smile on her face and peace in her eyes. She came towards me and said, “You have tried your best Sir but I don’t want to live. I am giving you this letter but as a dying wish I want that you read it once I’m gone. Please.”
As promised to her I did not open this letter all this while but today was different. She embraced the death with peace this morning.
The letter was from Neil’s mother and it read,
“Dear Anaya, I know what you’re going through right now but I don’t have that much courage to face it. By the time you’ll find this letter, I will nowhere to be found. In the last 10 years, you were always there with Neil in every thick and thin. You have seen it all, you’ve seen his condition deteriorating every single day but you’ve never lost your patience. I have seen you crying alone but in front of Neil, you have always put a brave face. Anaya both Neil and I are extremely lucky to have you.
We have been a sweet little happy family but ever since Neil was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis things have turned upside down. You know his condition will only get worsened each passing day and his sufferings are only going to multiply each day. When I see him in that pain or for even scratching his nose he calls you, something in me dies each time.
I know Anaya that you know where I’m going with this but trust me there is no way out and it’s time we gift him the peace he deserves. Neil is asking for it for so long but all this while we kept looking for a medical miracle but now we know there won’t be any. I know how it will be for you but there’s no other way. We will have to let him go. I don’t have the courage to do that but you’re a brave girl Anaya. Please forgive me but you know we’re doing this for him.
Anaya, please show this letter to police. Last but not the least, I want to thank you for each and everything and wish a better life for you. You deserve to live and live happily. Love, Mom. “