When Sharon enters the room, Derek doesn’t know where to look. It’s been five years since his sentencing hearing, him standing in the dock, hands clasped to prevent the trembling.
He expects she’s changed since then – haven’t they all – though, looking at her now, it’s still easy to see that Sharon is his ex-wife’s sister. They don’t look the same exactly, but there’s something about the general heft of her that declares a shared gene pool.
The clusters of chairs and tables populating the visitors’ room slow Sharon’s progress. She gives the families, sweethearts and men in prison green a wide berth, as if being poor or a criminal is contagious. Even so, Derek admires her bravery, for that’s what the force of her walk says: ‘I am here.’
Here is where Sharon has never been, until now. Five years he’s served. Five years with only the rare visit from his lawyer. Last time was to advise Derek his final appeal had failed and he’ll serve every day of his seven-year sentence…