[previous chapter] [start from the beginning] “So what did you think of the statement?” It was Jason Martel again on the phone, hoping to get a good quote from Martina for his news hit on the 6 o’clock program.

“You know, I think this man is very brave, to put these details out there like that. I know it’s a hard thing to do; I found it extremely difficult myself. It’s like getting undressed in front of a million people, all of whom are examining you for warts. Very uncomfortable.”

“Do you think people will feel more sympathy for him after his statement than before?”

“Hard to tell. If I had to guess I would say those of us who already felt some measure of sympathy will feel more sympathetic. But will people who see him as a cold-blooded murderer change their minds because of this statement? Probably not.”

“I know you can’t predict what the jury will say,” Martel asked, “but what is your wish for Jean-François Toussignant? What do you hope happens to him?”

“Oh boy, that’s a hard one.”

Martina had to think for a minute.

“You know, in the end, I wish he finds peace.”

****

“So, Jason, what’s next?”

“Next, Michael, is the verdict from the jury. We don’t know how long the jury will deliberate, experts say it can be anywhere between a few hours and several days. Most of the people I’ve asked today offered as their best guess a verdict before two days, so we shall see. If he is found guilty he will automatically be sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole for 25 years.”

“You’ve spoken with Martina Labrecque, the woman behind the hugely popular Facebook page supporting Jean-François Toussignant, what did she have to say?”

“She told me she found him very brave for talking about those details in public. Having gone through such an ordeal herself on her Facebook page, she says it is, and I quote, ‘like getting undressed in front of a million people, all of whom are examining you for warts,’ which she says is very uncomfortable.”

“I can imagine that. What else did she say?”

“She added that her wish for the accused was for him to find peace. So a very emotional day here at the Laval courthouse. I spotted several people crying during the statement from the accused. I don’t know what the verdict will be, Michael, but one thing I know for sure, very few people are left indifferent by this case.”

“I’m sure that’s true, thank you again Jason and we will talk to you again when the verdict comes in.”

“You bet.”

****

“Claire?”

“Yes, mom?”

“I’d like to talk to you for a minute.”

“Sure.” Claire knew when her mother said “for a minute” she really meant “for a long time” so she took the precaution of going to the washroom before heading downstairs.

“Yes?”

“Listen, Claire. I’ve been following this horribly sad trial of the man accused of having had his parents murdered in the nursing home.”

Uh ho.

“Yes, and?”

“Well, I’ve been thinking. I know I haven’t been the greatest mom to you.”

Claire sat there, saying nothing. She knew not saying anything would be taken as a form of agreement with her mother’s statement, but so what, her mother had been far from perfect.

“And so I’ve been wondering if it was possible for me to be a better mom from now on. I realize it’s late in the game, but better late than never, right?”

Wow, this was getting weird.

“This man, this Toussignant guy, he talks a lot about how important it is for children to grow up feeling loved, and even though you are pretty much grown up now, that doesn’t mean your need to feel loved has disappeared.”

“Mom, this is a bit awkward…”

“I know, I know. It’s not easy for me either. But I think what this man is saying is very important. I almost lost you once and I don’t want to risk that again, so I’ve decided to try my best to be better at showing you how much I love you. I guess considering our past history, being better than I used to be shouldn’t be too hard, eh?”

[next chapter]