1.  characterized by vagaries; erratic; capricious: a vagarious foreign policy.
  2. roving; wandering: vagarious artists.

The prison was strangely bright and airy. It was the opposite of what he would’ve expected from a place of containment. Prisoners in bright green uniforms sat behind glass, speaking with their respective visitors. Some still wore their handcuffs as they spoke softly, some laughing, others crying.

David Michael absentmindedly adjusted his jacket that suddenly felt constricting in the cement room with its white-washed walls. He rubbed his damp palms against his jeans, baffled by his behavior. His own nervousness confused him.

This is what he deserved, David Michael told himself, realizing he had never felt more uncomfortable.

“He deserves this,” he found himself muttering aloud.

David Michael glanced around quickly to make sure no one was looking at him, adjusting his collar in the increasingly warming room. He sat on his hands to keep them from shaking.

The feeling in the pit of his stomach made him feel like he did as a child, wishing he could be brave enough to call out to his father to come and fight the shadow monsters in his bedroom at night.

A thin young man on the other side of the plexiglass shuffled toward David Michael, ankles and wrists obviously shackled.

Mathis Anthony pressed the clear button and leaned toward the plexiglass. His complexion was splotchy, but his skin taught with youth. His eyes were red. He looked like a callow youth in David Michael’s eyes, probably no older than 19, so unlike a criminal, let alone a murderer.

David Michael felt crippled by his own vagarious emotions.

Why had he even chosen to come today?

Mathis pointed to the identical plastic button on David Michael’s side of the glass.

With a shaky hand David Michael pressed the button to allow Mathis’ call to come through.

Neither man said anything for a moment. David Michael searched for words for his wife’s killer, but nothing came. All the things he had screamed into the air, at his wife’s tombstone, and into the pillows of his cold bed for the last nine months seemed so far away.

“Thank you for coming today, Mr. Lansing,” Mathis said.

The young man’s voice was shaky. David Michael could tell he must’ve been crying. Numbness spread from David Michael’s toes up toward his knees. It was as if he were glued to his seat, unable to move or speak.

“I…I don’t deserve your time, but I’m grateful–”

Mathis’ voice cracked. He was visibly overcome with emotion.

“Even my own family won’t come see me…” His body shook  with each ragged breath.

“Not until the day of my– ”

Execution. He couldn’t say the word and David Michael wondered why it was so hard for even him to think about it when he had fantasized not only being there, but injecting Mathis himself.

“It’s understandable… I’ve done more than mess up this time…Everything they said about me never being nothing when I was a kid was more true than I knew…”

David Micheal saw the question in Mathis’ eyes.

“I can’t bring your wife back…”

Tears spilled from both men’s eyes, wetting their cheeks and clothing.

“…And I never should’ve taken her from you…but could you ever forgive me, Mr. Lansing? Could you ever forgive me for what I’ve done?”

Mathis held up shaking, shackled hands before David Michael, silently begging as his entire body shook.

Barely able to breathe, David Michael nodded, the lump in his throat preventing him from speaking. The sound of his own sobs echoed in his ears as he let the hate he’d held onto for the last year fall to the ground, tears washing the weary places in both men’s hearts.



*This post was inspired by my normal Word of the Day prompt, but was also written for today’s Daily Prompt of Radical for WordPress. Two Radical birds?


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