Thursday, 14 July 2016

Witness: A modern parable in six parts - Part One

Magda’s Journal: 24 March
I woke up shivering as the first light of the day crept through the blinds. I’d fallen asleep in the armchair again, TV blaring out the same old, same old. The morning chill made my bare legs look like chicken flesh, so I pulled on my jeans and went looking for some socks. Then to the kitchen to make some tea. Black. I haven’t left the flat to get milk - or anything else - for days.
I can’t seem to get enough of the news these days. It’s nothing but doom and gloom but I can’t stop watching. Like an obsession, addiction even. Can’t bear the thought that I might miss something. Some special message, meant only for me, hidden in the reports.
I tell myself to snap out of it. Move on. But how can I? I’d built myself a new life, and now it’s been smashed to pieces.
So I sit here, all day, watching the flickering screen, hoping for a sign. Waiting patiently, loyally, for the call. When it comes, I’ll be ready.

The Evening Star – 25 March
'People’s Prophet' to stand trial on terrorism charges

A cult leader accused of masterminding a terrorist plot to bring down the Government is to stand trial. A preliminary hearing today ruled that the 37-year-old accused, who refused to give a name or address, was mentally competent to face the unspecified charges.
Throughout the ten-minute hearing, the self-proclaimed ‘People’s Prophet’ refused to acknowledge the court or enter a plea. He also waived his right to legal counsel.
Due to national security concerns, the trial will be held in camera, closed to the press and public.

Magda’s Journal: 26 March
I saw him on the news. He looked so small, so lost, alone, in a badly fitting suit that only someone with a grudge could have picked out.
They all thought he was invincible. I was the only one who knew the lost little boy behind all the fire, the passion. And I was the only one who could give him what he needed, so he could give them what they needed.
But now, he’s not talking to anyone and won’t see anyone. Or so they say. 
None of our friends are talking to me either. It’s like we never happened. They’ve all gone to ground, denying they ever knew him. 
I’m the only one left.
My phone is filled with texts from reporters. The same ones who dismissed us as deluded hippies before. They’re clambering over themselves and drooling at the thought of an exclusive. They’ll get nothing from me.
There’s one person I can talk to, even though it’s been more than a year since I swore I’d have nothing more to do with him. A year since I put myself through the wringer and came out the other end, clean. And for what?
Jimmy sent me a text as soon as the news broke. He was still my friend, he said. He was there for me if I needed anything, he said. We all know what ‘anything’ he was thinking about, don’t we?
Old habits die hard, especially when they carry the promise of blissful escape.
A Letter from Thomas

Dear Magda,

By the time you get this letter, I’ll be gone. I’ll post it before I board the ferry, but I won’t tell you where I’m going. It’s better you don’t know.
I hope you’ve managed to stay clean and healthy. I know it’s hard for you, with everything that’s happened. It’s hard for us all. I had to get away. Sorry I couldn’t stay.
You should leave too. Nothing good will come from waiting around for some kind of miracle to happen. You’ve got to start thinking about what’s best for you now. Forget him, and start putting Magda first, for once.
I know you won’t. You never would listen when I tried to reason with you about his so-called “mission”. You were always free of the doubts that haunted me, but I’m afraid that certainty will hurt you now.
We’ve had our differences, but I always cared for you. Now, I can’t bear the thought of you falling back into the life you had before. I have to try, at least one more time, to get you to see reason.
Please, think about it. He’s not worth it. You are.

With love,
Magda’s Journal: 28 March
I left the flat yesterday. After seeing him on the news, I decided I had to see him, let him know I was still his.
I showered, put on clean clothes, even fixed my hair, and took the bus. Though my heart was pounding in my ears and my hands shaking the whole way, I knew it would be worth it just to see his face again, hear him speak - only for me.
But he made them turn me away. He wouldn’t even leave the cell. 
How could he be so cruel? 
After everything I’ve done for him? Giving up everything I knew to give him the comfort that only I could see he needed?
When I got back, the letter from Thomas was waiting for me. I knew what it would say, but I read it anyway. Blah, blah, blah. He thinks he’s so logical, so superior. He just doesn’t understand. His precious letter’s now just another piece of paper gathering teacup stains on the table. It doesn’t mean a thing.
I’ve been thinking more and more about Jimmy....

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