Texas

I wrote this last month, on June 21st. The last time I saw Vaughn Ross.

In Texas, I have become a woman with too much time on my hands. And in Texas, he has become a man with not enough time on his hands.

Texas. The lone star state.

Don’t mess with Texas.

I’d like to. I’d like to mess with Texas. I’d like to tell Texas to ease up.

Today, I spoke to him for four hours. I haven’t eaten since breakfast. I seem to be fine without. The kind taxi driver, Carl, told me about a restaurant his manager owns. He ate there today. Potatoes, cabbage and chicken. He doesn’t like the taste of chicken when it’s just been killed. It tastes different, he says.

And the man. The man who lives down the road. I wonder what he’s doing now, while I sit in silence, writing and sipping water.

I went for a walk earlier. Texas confuses me. Such beauty. Such massive, expansive skies. Such greenery and space. Yet so distasteful. There is a bitterness to this whole state.

Why did he come here? Why did he accept the offer at the school here? Of all places?

“We should have left it with Mexico,” says one friend. “It’s a wasteland.”

This place makes me sad.

In a month, if the state has it’s way, my friend’s time will have run out and I will never come back here.

Never.

I spilt a bottle of water all over the letters I was writing him. I have written eight today. I had to go to the shop to buy more cards.

There are funny clicks and squeaks from the machines and furniture. I didn’t need this big room. I didn’t need two double beds.

“Thank you for coming,” he said.

“I had to,” I replied.

“You had to,” he repeated.

I had to.

When I cried, he told me not to make my beautiful blue eyes go red.

He calls me a blueberry muffin. I look away, unsure what to do. I feel I’m probably blushing.

Blushing? In prison? With a convicted killer? Laughing and blushing and looking away?

They make him strip when he has visits. He doesnt mind it now. He’s used to it.

They listen in on his phone calls. It’s on speakerphone. So he doesn’t make phone calls anymore.

I did a lot of pacing while I waited for him. Pacing helps.

I have a nice life in England. No-one else decides my breakfast time or when I can have a shower. I can go outside whenever I wish.

When I start bemoaning my misfortunes? I don’t have any.

He calls me intelligent and eloquent. I am flattered but I let the conversation run on without acknowledging it.

I keep the curtains open. I want to see the world and I want the world to see me.

I’ve been looking out of the window since the sun set, one and a half hours ago.

Tomorrow afternoon, I will ride away from Livingston on a Greyhound bus. And he will stay.

This morning, at 00.46, I read online that his execution had been carried out.

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11 responses to this post.

  1. Love to you LLM.

    Reply

  2. Oh my gosh… beautifully written, heartbreaking post. Really hope you are ok.

    Reply

  3. Wow.
    I visited Texas once – Austin & San Antonio. The obstinate nature of the state and its people was very strange and alien to me. I think you were very brave for visiting the man, I hope you’re feeling OK now.

    Reply

    • It’s funny actually, the more time passes, the less it feels like it has happened. It’s getting harder to comprehend the situation and understand that he’s gone.

      Reply

  4. Texas has a cruel outlook, a bitterness and hardness I expect born of its puritanical Christian roots. This is one of those experiences where you realise how important life is.

    Reply

  5. […] (For other things I wrote in Texas, click here.) […]

    Reply

  6. […] Got two new jobs. One I disliked. One I loved. Thankfully I am now in the one I love! 2. Lost a good friend to the murky depths of Texas’ capital punishment system. 3. Went to France (for lunch), Italy […]

    Reply

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