My iPhone’s text tone brought me back to earth. I stood up, realizing I had spent the whole night on my knees in traveling clothes. What time is it? I thought. I picked up my phone from the nightstand and clicked the power button − 6:15 a.m.
The text was from our lawyer Jacob: “A good lawyer and close Christian friend of mine, Artie Chin, has agreed to represent Dylan. He will be at the courthouse for the arraignment at 9 a.m. Let me know if you need anything else.”
I need to get ready now, I thought. Help me Lord!
J.C. and Shira drove me to the San Francisco Hall of Justice Building on Bryant Street, parking the BMW at an underground parking lot. The Justice Building resembled a drab concrete rhombus designed by second graders who were given cardboard boxes and told to create a building out of them. No ionic columns. No domes. No frills. No inspiration for those of us searching for hope.
A short walk later, we stood in a chrome elevator, heading to the fourth floor.
“Darling, why did you dress up so much? You look like you’re meeting the mayor,” whispered Shira, wearing blue jeans and white top.
“This yellow dress is Dylan’s favorite dress of mine. And the yellow heels? They add height and confidence, which I really need right now.”
“Well, this should be over soon and you two will be on your way to Tahoe,” said J.C., patting my shoulder.
“That would be great, but I have doubts.”
“Doubts?” asked Shira.
“This could be a long drawn-out battle with today just being the opening skirmish.”
“Do you know something we don’t?” asked J.C.
I shrugged. “Maybe.”
The elevator bell signaled our arrival at the fourth floor. We stepped out into a narrow hallway and walked toward the courtroom. A tall policeman directed us to remove our rings, watches, necklaces, pocket items, cell phones, place them in a silver bowl, and walk through a scanner. We passed our inspections and then rearranged ourselves before entering the courtroom.
The courtroom, unlike the boring building’s exterior, was almost lavish with its rich mahogany paneling, mahogany judicial bench, mahogany attorney’s tables, and black padded seats. There was seating for forty spectators, but only twelve or so awaited the arraignment proceedings. We sat in the second row, near the aisle.
At nine, a chubby bailiff, standing on the right side of the judge’s bench, announced, “All rise for the honorable Judge Esther Strong.”
Everyone stood as the thin female judge with dark hair swooped in and sat down on the bench. We followed suit and seated ourselves. The ruffling of clothes echoed throughout the courtroom.
Five Latino defendants with dark tattoos were arraigned for murder cases in a rather cut and dried fashion with very few comments from the judge, attorneys, or the attorneys. Bails were set at a million dollars each and all were remanded to the county jail.
Next, the bailiff announced, “The People of San Francisco against Dylan Matthews.”
I gasped when I saw Dylan approach the defendant’s table. His face looked like a Mafia hit man had worked him over with a baseball bat. His nose was swollen and both eyes blackened. What have those bullies done to my sweetheart, I wondered.
My ears tuned into the proceedings as the attorneys spoke and the judge then asked Dylan what he would do if she set him free on his own recognizance. Dylan’s words of defiance and his announcement of a fast stirred my heart so that I wanted to jump up and shout, “Hallelujah Gunsmoke, I’m with you,” but I bit my tongue and kept quiet.
I am not sure if he heard me say, “Dylan, Dylan, I love you,” when he left the courtroom, but the bailiff did. He pointed at me and shook his head at my outburst.
Oh, how I wanted to stick out my tongue at the bailiff, but I kept my lady-like composure by inwardly visualizing the action in my mind. The rebellious thought reminded me of my teenage years.
Oh well, I thought, now what?
(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)
(Continued in Part 11…the full series to date can be read here.)