It took Harold Gardner the longest time to agree that Millicent Murphy could visit him. She’d been persistent, however, and he’d been unable to get the request off his mind. So he wrote her a few lines to let her know.
Now, even though he could hardly believe it, the day had arrived. He also dreaded he’d ever agreed to this meeting. If there was anyone in the whole wide world he did not want to see or listen to, it was Mrs. Murphy. Too late now.
He’d already spotted her outside. The Visitors’ Room had a few long windows in it and one of them faced the large parking lot and main entrance gate to the place. He’d asked her what she’d be wearing because of the window. She’d said a purple jacket.
He could see from the window that she’d gotten older. It was her hair or something. Maybe it was thinner. He had gotten older too, of course. After all, five years had already passed. Five fucking years of hell.
She walked in and immediately spied him in the chair. She didn’t bother smiling but he could see in her face that she’d changed. A lot he’d guess. Thick, bullet proof glass separated them and they had to talk using speaker phones.
As Mrs. Murphy sat down, heavy tears suddenly began rolling down Harold’s face. He hated the few times in his life he’d been unable to control his emotions. This was one of those times. He found he couldn’t speak.
“I came, Harold, to tell you I can no longer hate you,” Millicent said calmly. “It’s killing me.”
He couldn’t look at Millicent. The tears wouldn’t stop. He held his right hand across his mouth.
“As you know, it’s been five years now,” Millicent continued. “I have no more tears. I have murdered you thousands of times day and night trying to avenge the ugly Saturday you murdered my only son. In cold blood. Because of an insignificant robbery for God’s sake. How I wish you had asked me for a hundred dollars that day! How I wish I had given you a thousand! Then I almost let you murder me—my soul and spirit these five years. But no, I decided I won’t. I’m going to live, Harold. I’m going to try to do something positive in the time I have left in this world.”
Harold looked at Mrs. Murphy. He didn’t try to speak.
“I gave the guard the candy, cigarettes, books and magazines I brought for you, Harold. He promised to give them to you later. Please remind him.”
Without a gesture, Mrs. Murphy left her seat and quietly walked out of the state prison’s visitors’ room.