This morning, a longtime friend of mine (Art / Penny) was sentenced and sent to prison after … what, three years or so since this all started? And I haven’t been as ‘there’ for her as I should have been, and I really wanted to go to the sentencing, if only to say goodbye in person. So I woke up this morning, barely in time, double-checked the message she’d sent with directions, and drove the 31 miles across town to the court in Mesa where it was taking place. I even managed to be 20 minutes early, despite the traffic and the rain. And I didn’t see her, or anyone I knew, and I tried calling but there was no answer, and the courtroom she gave was locked until 8:30 (the official start time), and she wasn’t in there… but three of her friends were there, too, and we all went in together and waited … and proceedings started around 9, but … she still wasn’t there, and we didn’t know what else to do. Around 9:30 I went out into the hall to try all the numbers I had again, but no go, and there wasn’t any signal in the courtroom, so that was my first chance to get on the internet and try to look up the court schedule online… maybe it was in a different room? And I got the information I needed. It was one room over. 203, not 204. I ran in, literally seconds too late. She had been sentenced and taken away, and everyone who’d been in the right room was crying, and … what? What? What was I supposed to do?
And I went to the other courtroom and got her other friends out of there, and we all talked in the hallway for a while, gave her father our contact info… And she got the low end of sentences, and with good behaviour could get out early, and may even have the possibility of being transfered to a prison that would be less dangerous to her chances of survival… And I tried. And I know they say it’s the thought that counts and at least you tried, but … I wasn’t there to say goodbye. I missed that. I said goodbye on the phone the other day, but …
We’ve been friends for about 15 years, she deserves better than that.
I’m going to try to visit her in prison. The lawyer said that she might be able to have visitors in a couple of weeks. I feel awful about missing this. Hopefully we can get the communication about location a little more accurate for that. Hopefully I won’t be a complete fuck-up next time.
On a side note: basically everyone else who was there to see her off (or to try) had heard of me. Some of them, not through Penny. In fact, one of them didn’t know who I was, standing there, but recognized my voice. From an audiobook version of the Princess Bride I recorded. That she got from a friend … who I’ve either never heard of or don’t know the name of. Who got it from someone else I didn’t recognize.
Which is to say that apparently there are “bootleg”-type copies of … my audio version of The Princess Bride floating around out there. Comforting people in hospital, among other things.
But kinda makes me want to get off my ass and record the audio versions of my own books.