Defence

Arno’s imagination is endless, and he makes up new scenarios every minutes about how things will go. The trial oppresses him. Its unfairness weighs on his heart. He wants to break free, he dreams of justice.

And so he decides not to go to the trial, to make room for Syrtanyelle to come, and prepare some leaflets for his lawyers with the texts Syrtanyelle had sung to him, and also two drawings she had given him. Syrtanyelle has lied to the people around her after all, accused Arno of being a mere nuisance, of practicing love magic, when she had herself encouraged him in it, and even told him it was deeply healing for her. And so Arno thinks that it will be a shock for the people around, her father and her mother, her friends, to hear the words she has herself written to Arno. And Arno do not think Syrtanyelle will lie when the judge asks her if she has written herself these words. But perhaps her lawyer will tell her she can leave the question unanswered. But still, a silence can be quite revealing sometimes.

And so Arno’s lawyer lets the accusers make their accusation without protesting. Then, she states the main point of Arno’s defence. Syrtanyelle wanted him to do all what he did, and she encouraged him secretly, and she didn’t say the whole truth to her relatives. And then the lawyer projects her drawings on a screen, and she slowly read her words of poetry where she calls Arno the wording wizard, and she calls him her dear, weird twin brother, and says to him she cannot love anyone as she loves him. The lawyer slowly read her words, bringing emotional remembrance in Syrtanyelle. Her father looks at her pointedly. He already had the intuition this affair was not clear, and now his doubts are confirmed. He wanted to protect his daughter. But surely not accuse an innocent. Why did you hide it all from us, he silently asks Syrtanyelle. Syrtanyelle has tears in his eyes and her face colours up as these intimates poems where she showed her emotional nakedness are shown to the people around her. The lawyer continues her slow reading, in Falnë as Arno has instructed her, the original language the poems were written into, as Syrtanyelle has learnt speaking Falnë as her second language as a kid, and she corresponded in that language with Arno. Syrtanyelle had told Arno his words gave her such a deep wave of warmth and love she started skipping of joy. She sang to Arno he was helping her retrieve the colours of her heart, he was helping her grow into herself. How could her opinion about Arno be so changed now? How could she accuse him so harshly to the people around her, painting him as a heavy and insistent boy? Everyone in the court is looking at Syrtanyelle, as she seems engrossed in the emotions the poems she had written bring back in her. My dear, I have shown you the entire world, and it now is time to show you the last piece you have not seen, myself. This is why I am dying. Find me back in the emptiness I left. Arno, I am not ready to see you now, but I will come to you one day when I am ready to embrace you without fears. The interrogation in Syrtanyelle’s father becomes an accusation. Syrtanyelle feels the gaze of everyone on her. And she feels her heart beating very, very fast. She had not forgotten all these texts and poems she had written to Arno, even if sometimes she pretended she did, pretended she did not love him, did not care about him. But hearing again these words has made her emotions too wild to control and she is on the brink of shedding tears. She could perhaps force her tears in, without her father crying to her, why, why my daughter. That is the drop that makes the wall crumble, and Syrtanyelle starts sobbing. The entire court looks at her. She sobs and sobs and sobs almost hysterically. No one expected such an emotional breakdown. Her mother and her father come to her and hug her. She is their daughter after all, their daughter, and they must be close to her. Syrtanyelle feels the cheek of her mother on her cheek, she feels the hand on her father on her head. She cries and cries and cries until she feels no blood left in her hands. Then after a long, long time she quiets down. I have lied, she slowly says, I was very much afraid. I’m so sorry. I love Arno. I don’t want him to be convicted. Why did you lie to the court, the judge asks quietly but firmly, this is a very grave act. Syrtanyelle’s lawyer looks at her with shock. Also one or two of her friends scold at her. My intention was not to lie, she says very softly, but I tried to hide Arno’s existence, I didn’t want my parents to know about him, I didn’t want to disappoint them. Why would we be disappointed my dear, Syrtanyelle’s father gently asks. Because you wanted me to be a good girl, to have a solid career, to live a normal life, and Arno was bringing me to wildness and with him I would have become a storyteller. But if you write so beautifully my dear, Syrtanyelle’s mother said, it would be a loss for the world to do anything else. Syrtanyelle started weeping again. I was also afraid to trust him, to surrender entirely to his love that seemed so unearthly, so pure, I preferred to resist it. To avoid being hurt again. Syrtanyelle’s mother and father hugged her even more closely.

Arno’s lawyer asks for the permission to speak. Arno doesn’t want Syrtanyelle do be convicted because of her false declaration. He pardons her entirely. He expresses all his regrets to the court about the loss of time and income, but he would like also to thank you all, because you have helped Syrtanyelle heal. He knew by giving me her texts to read she would cry and be delivered from her fear of voicing out her love. He would like to add something. Syrtanyelle had a deep wound of the past, a trauma from her childhood, and going through all this, and accusing him unfairly was the only way for her to heal, to pardon herself, and to retrieve her faith in love, as Arno never stopped loving her a moment, even when she threw him in jail.

Then someone starts clapping in the room, and soon everyone is clapping. This is the true aim of justice, someone says. Revealing the truth, helping people find love and happiness. And not punishing. This is the most beautiful and touching court session I have ever attended, and if you call this a loss of time and money you have understood nothing of life.