Trying something new. Needs a little work. That’s what practice is for, right?
It was a dark, closed-in space, dank and dingy, and Lizzy wasn’t at all sure how she had ended up there.
It had started with a teensy spot of envy – wishing that she owned what someone else had – and had ended up with robbery and murder when the owner had walked in on her.
She stared at the wall, hardly able to comprehend why she had done what she had done. She wasn’t a bad person. Sure, she could be prideful and sometimes got angry when she shouldn’t, but there were lots of people who were worse than she.
The door clanged open and she was led down the hall to the courtroom in chains. Chains.
It was humiliating to stand there in that orange suit, shackles on her wrists and ankles, knowing that she deserved to be there and hating that now everyone else knew she deserved it too.
The judge came in and sat, looking at her for a long time.
Out of the corner of her eye, Lizzy saw another figure in the same orange jumpsuit, with the same shackles, shuffle up and stand next to her. She turned and saw it was a man. A plain, rough-hewn sort of man. He glanced down at her and gave a small smile. She turned away, embarrassed.
She looked back at the judge who had begun to speak.
There was disappointment in the voice, but there was kindness too.
“You have been found guilty of robbery and of murder. Your sentence is death.”
Lizzy lowered her eyes and felt the breath explode out of her. She knew she deserved it. She waited to be led out again, back to her cell, but the judge kept speaking.
“Lizzy. You will now be released.”
Lizzy’s eyes shot up again, widened in disbelief. That didn’t make sense!
“My son has volunteered to take your place. He will die and you will be released.”
It happened so quickly that Lizzy hardly understood. Her chains were taken off and that man who had stood beside her was led away to be put to death. With dizzying speed, she found herself outside the courthouse – free.
As she stood there, dumbfounded and bewildered, breathing the fresh, clean air of the outdoors, a voice said her name.
She looked up and saw the judge standing beside her.
“You must be hungry. I know that it all happened very quickly. Will you come to my house for supper?”
She stared into the somber, kind eyes of the judge and, despite herself, despite her embarrassment and bafflement, found herself nodding yes.
After a meal of the most delicious food she had ever tasted and the most absorbing conversation she’d ever taken part of, the judge looked at her with a look of the most raw and naked love she had ever seen.
“Lizzy. I love you. I love you with all that I am. I want to adopt you as my own child. I want to be your Father, your Daddy. Everything I have will be yours. I want to give you a home, give you my name, give you my love. Will you have me?”
The judge who had delivered the just sentence of death for her crimes, the judge who gave up his son to take her place, that very same judge now also wanted to adopt her and give her all of him?
Lizzy could do nothing but fall to her knees with her face to the floor and weep.