Many inquire about dating a convicted murderer when I was eighteen. I cautioned myself from filling in the details. Some pasts lay dormant indefinitely; others rest before they rise to tell their story. Buried long ago, my assumption was never to give this saga audible frequency, a resonance I was unready to surrender. Yet now I find myself digging into my storage tank for untold stories. This one is dedicated to all the uneducated, wronged, unloved souls that could not find their way home.
Enter stage left, the island of Nantucket, with backdrop, the supermarket. He is shopping for sustenance; I am selling fresh meat at the deli counter. After drifting, and coasting through menial college freshman relationships, meeting a seasoned, older man with deep green, meaningful eyes, muscular physique, and a golden, bronzed tan, he has me at “hello.” Beyond the strong, external frame, there seems a soft, sweet, and subtle vulnerability residing beneath the surface. I find this gentle nuance alluring, magnetic, piquing my curiosity and interest, enough to connect and accept his first date proposal. Additionally the reference from his cousin, my manager, wrapped into our initial conversation eliminates my need for a further background check.
By evening, I am riding in his car, words flow like a reciprocating seesaw, changing directions in rhythm. We discover that we come from two separate worlds. He is surprised by my age, asking to see my driver’s license, having thought I was at least twenty-one, uncertain whether to proceed further. Understandably, since he is thirty, life experience cannot level this playing field. Our worlds exceedingly dissimilar, age may be the least of our division. I sit uncomfortably with his discomfort, imagining that our first date shall be our final.
Yet the details of his life unravel in conversation, exposing me to a foreign world, revelation upon revelation, scene by scene, and layer upon layer. Magnetically my fascination turns to compassion, my compassion to empathy, and my empathy to heartfelt, emotional caring. His drama-full life story unfolds audibly, my comprehension, contemplation, and conclusion that a disadvantaged life was dealt challenge upon challenge that worsened over time from uneducated, egregious choices he made.
Unafraid and extremely fascinated by his honesty, genuine, soft nature, I delve further with question upon question about the crime he committed, the out on bail pending an appeal status, and the three years he inhabited a maximum-security prison. His life experience fully disclosed, adds intrigue and fascination with his every expression. Drawn into the mystery, the unfamiliar territory, and alarming story, while charmed by his eyes and dichotomy of his gentle, inner, puppy-like demeanor, I am stunned how he ends up killing another.
The year that follows, I remain on the island to live, experience, and embed myself into his world. Knowledge, eye-opening exposure to the uneducated tradesman, the poor, and the criminal population, furthers my experience and education beyond any traditional institution. The one story I thought I could never write, the untold story, is ready for the telling, a tale of conviction on an island of love and lost innocence.