20 in Far from Home

  • June 7, 2021, 12:39 a.m.
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  • Public

Forrest and I continued to exchange letters once or twice a week as the trial got underway. The media tried to get a story from me, but I ignored them, knowing they would print what they wanted anyway.

I found that I had mixed emotions about the thought of him possibly being found innocent. Not everyone who was found innocent was really innocent, so I wondered if it would be wise to cancel out on going to Germany and stay with a possible murderer.

But would I feel like I was turning against him and deserting him if he truly was innocent? Even if he was innocent of murder, there was the child porn to consider. He wasn’t innocent of that. I saw it with my own eyes. You didn’t have that on your computer with good intentions.

Lastly, his story had changed a bit. It was a slight discrepancy, but it was there nonetheless, and being as observant as I was, I was quick to notice it, regardless of the subtle differences in his various versions of what had happened. In one version they had an argument while they were still together and she ran off and was supposedly drowned by accident if not killed by someone else. In another version, they had already broken up and she only stopped by to pick up the last of her things before this happened.

Face it, I said to myself. Something’s definitely wrong. The changing stories, the fact that he’s on trial, the porn…

Every fiber of my being said it would be best to walk away for good. I could handle exchanging letters but living together was a whole different story. Even if he wasn’t a killer, I wasn’t about to live with someone with a taste for child pornography, and for all I knew, it wasn’t just about lusting over the photos. The guy could be into child trafficking for all I knew.

I hated to see him be convicted if he hadn’t done anything wrong, but I also hated the idea of him walking free for God knew what to possibly happen.

And then either his mother or someone connected to her found the filthy contents of his computer because it was reported that he was being brought up on new charges - having child pornography in his possession. So I knew right then and there it was unlikely he would be out anytime soon.

I agreed to visit him when he asked me to. To hell with what his mother wanted. She wasn’t my mother and I wasn’t a child. I wanted to look him in the eye and hear what he had to say directly to my face.

I really did feel like my emotions were at a tug of war with each other because here I was feeling bad that this guy I’d had so much fun with and who gave me the incentive to go on was probably going to be locked up for the rest of his life or at least a good deal of it. But then there was a bit of relief coursing through me knowing that I probably wouldn’t have to go through the process of dumping him and explaining that I no longer felt comfortable living with him.

I thought of these conflicting emotions on the way to visit him at the jail. At least the jail wasn’t far and I could hop on a bus easily enough. I was also grateful that if this had to happen it hadn’t waited until the winter.

At the jail, I was frisked and checked with a metal detector before being allowed into the waiting room. I figured I would have to wait a long time but after just twenty minutes, I was called into a small room and seated at the table that stood in the center of it. I expected to be brought into a waiting room where there would be several prisoners and visitors, but I was learning that things were a little different there. Some things, anyway.

I was left in the room for about five minutes. Then a guard entered the room with Forrest in tow who was handcuffed in front. He was seated in front of me and then the guard stepped back to stand by the door.

I turned and looked at Forrest. His blue eyes seem to hold a mixture of emotions. He seemed tired but also glad to see me.

“Thanks for coming, babe,” he said. “It means so much to me.”

I smiled weakly and said, “How have you been holding up?”

“As well as one can.”

I snorted and said, “I suppose that was a lame question.”

Forrest shrugged and I looked at the guard who stood stoically still by the door, staring straight ahead at nothing while no doubt listening to every single word we exchanged.

“Guard?”

The tall, slender sandy-haired guard who could have passed for Forrest’s brother looked at me.

“You can remove the handcuffs if you’d like.”

“Can’t do that,” he said sternly before returning his head back to its affixed position gazing at nothing.

“It’s okay, hun,” Forrest said. “I’m used to these things.”

I saw that as my opportunity to get to the point. “Hopefully you won’t have to get too used to them. I heard about the newest charges.”

Forrest lowered his gaze and said, “Yeah, I knew you would.”

“I guess I should cut to the chase and just ask you point-blank what’s going on. I understand if there are some things you don’t want to say out loud and that you wish to keep strictly between you and your lawyer, but if there’s anything you could tell me, good or bad, please do. I’d really like a better sense of what’s going on.”

“It’s just as I told you. A simple misunderstanding.”

I looked at him intently. “Forrest, there’s nothing simple about being accused of killing someone.”

I thought I caught a flicker of irritation cross his features and then he smiled and spoke as if he were explaining something to a child. “It’s just pure speculation on their part. They’ve been pressured by India’s family and by the Thai police to pin the blame on someone. Anyone. Even if they can’t find the real killer. As long as they at least arrest someone and they lose their joke of a case, that will appease people to a degree. There’s a political aspect to this farce as well.”

“But if they have no proof then why are you here? How could they arrest you to begin with? That’s what I don’t get. I know Norway is different than the US, but could they really arrest you if they didn’t think they had enough evidence?”

“I’m afraid so and I’m sure they hope to get lucky and get a conviction just the same, but no, they don’t have any way to prove who killed India unless they’ve got it on video somewhere, and sadly, I highly doubt they do.”

“Then what’s the point of arresting you? It just makes no sense.”

“It’s all for show. You know, the usual political bullshit. This way they can say they at least tried.”

I still wasn’t sure I understood but decided to move on. “What about the new charges? That’s a lot easier to prove, Forrest. I would think they could prove it was your computer and that the stuff they’re saying was on it was really on it.”

Forrest gritted his teeth and glanced at the guard for a second. “I honestly don’t know how in the world it got on my computer.”

Now I was really getting suspicious of him. “Seriously?” I said, not attempting to hide my doubt. “Do other people use your computer or something?”

“No, but I could think of a few people who would have planted it there to spite me in hopes of nailing me with it.”

“Who?”

Forrest spoke hesitantly, as if he either didn’t want to discuss it or had to take time to think of an answer I might buy. Finally, he said, “I suspect that whoever killed India planted it there to use as insurance.”

“I still don’t understand.”

Forrest fidgeted in his seat. “At first I thought a random stranger killed India, but now I’m thinking the person planned to kill her for whatever reason and figured they could blame it on me since we’d just gotten divorced. I don’t know how they managed to get their hands on my computer, but I think they planted the file to help ensure some kind of conviction once the police couldn’t prove I killed India.”

“If that’s the case then why didn’t you notice the file?”

“I have dozens of files on my desktop, hun.”

We sat in silence for a moment or two and then he finally said, “What’s on your mind, babe? I still have you on my side, don’t I?”

“You do, but even if you were to be released right now, I don’t think I would feel comfortable living with you again.”

Forrest started to stir in his chair with agitation, but I went on anyway.

“Letters and visits are fine. I could support you with that much. I’m just saying I can’t live with you anymore, Forrest. I need to move on.”

Then Forrest lost it. “Fine, fuck it then. Go ahead and give up on me.”

“I’m not giving up on you. If I was, I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t—“

Forrest cut me off with a slew of insults and swears as he slammed his fists on the metallic table that was bolted to the concrete floor.

The guard quickly ushered me out of the room, and I left the prison glad to have visited so I could see Forrest’s true colors, if only for a moment. I understood that jail would make anybody moody and irrational, but this really clinched my decision not to live with him again. I was now convinced that I was doing the right thing by moving on. New people, new country. And maybe, just maybe, a chance to meet and reconcile with Frieda, depending on what happened with Adele and me.

Less than forty-eight hours and I would be gone!
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