Thought #39. Verdict: guilty 1/2.

After 15 years of prison, not only strangers, family or friends but also I despise myself for a series of brutal crimes I can barely remember. Leaving prison should have been the most exciting thing a convict could ever have dreamt. Ex-convicts used to say that it can also be terrifying. My exit wasn’t either intoxicating or scary, though. I felt empty, hopeless, more than lost, strayed. I was mental and that also goes back to when I was arrested on suspicion of murdering five young women.

I had been seeing a psychiatrist for years, since, at high school, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Until the trial took place I had been receiving a long-term psychiatric treatment that allowed me to live an almost normal life. For many years, I worked as a bellboy at a luxurious hotel in the city centre. After my morning shift, I even regularly attended classes of criminology at the Oxford University. My parents were well born and they encouraged me to study whatever I was keen on. It wasn’t after the verdict that they their hopes of seeing me as a perfectly sane person had definitely been wrecked. They died two years before I became a strayed destitute, before I got out of prison for crimes I can barely remember; before I was virtually and undeniably robbed of freedom and something more.

In prison, I never felt at home. The fact of being deprived of freedom of action wasn’t the worst part. In fact, I felt like a complete outsider since I arrived in prison. I never thought I belonged to their criminal kin. What can you expect from a madman? A crazy person cannot be trusted, can be? Undervalued and detested by my cell mate, I had to struggle to stay calm. Sometimes, I felt the urge to commit suicide, but soon I found myself soothed again. The doctor had augmented my dose of drugs. I took them religiously, it wasn’t necessary any kind of supervision. It saved my life countless times.

If I had to mention a friend, beyond doubt, it would be the doctor. I could see in her look a glimmer of understanding. She had the ability to penetrate deep inside me. It wasn’t her kindness. What I most appreciate was that she never mentioned the brutal crimes I was convicted for. Well, the only occasion she talked about it was when she read the admission report signed by the prison’s psychologist. Even then, she didn’t do it with a judgelike manner.

When I was released, I regained possession of my belongings. Among them, a newspaper from the day I was condemned splashed the story of an alleged psychopathic killer that was about to be judged. A picture of mine illustrates that front page article. The inspector in charge of the investigation stands in the background, almost blurred by the zoom lens focusing on me. I was roused and filled with mixed feelings. I couldn’t remember the face of any of the five women that appear below my picture. Now, six months after that precise moment, the truth could be revealed.