When I have a fever, I often wake up in the middle of the night in a state of delirium. My thoughts would be all over the place. Typically, they take the form of whatever it was that I was doing the day before, and it’s almost impossible for me to ward them off. They keep coming back, playing over and over again in my head. It’s like being locked in an odd and meaningless dream-logic. It’s absolutely maddening. Nothing makes sense. And the only way to get through it is to lay in bed and try to survive the physical and psychological torture until sunrise.
My night ended around 3 A.M. Tossing and turning continuously in my bed made me feel so restless that I gave up and decided to get up and distract myself with something. I got up, turned on the lights in my darkened bedroom and drank some water. I paced around in my living room, eagerly waiting for the day’s first light, hoping it would bring me some comfort and put me at ease before the big day starts. The day where Matthew Eldon would be charged with all his victims’ murder. I stood in front of my closet and stared at it endlessly. I was wondering what I should wear. Then I wondered if I should even attend the trial in the first place. I knew being there would most likely make me very uncomfortable, but for some reason I was compelled to do it for Matt. And although he probably couldn’t care less about the judge’s judgment, whether he lived or died, I felt like I needed to be on his side during this dreadful time. I don’t understand why. After all he’s done to me, it just doesn’t make any sense for me to be there. Matt has done nothing but turn my life into chaos, and here I was still feeling empathetic towards him. It’s like I’ve been manipulated by forces beyond my understanding. Even when he wasn’t there, he still had me in the palm of his hand.
It was a beautiful day. It was sunny outside, and the weather was nice. However, it felt like a funeral to me. As I took some clothes out of my closet, I spotted Ryan’s gray sweater; it was buried deep under a pile of dirty clothes. I grabbed it and put it on. It still fit me perfectly. I put on some jeans and grabbed my black coat and left my apartment. I didn’t tell neither Warren, Ellen or Anders that I was going to the trial because I knew they wouldn’t understand and would try to talk me out of it. They’ve all made it pretty clear to me they’d rather move on with their lives and focus on other things after attending Matt’s preliminary hearing. Being in the courtroom and listening to people’s testimonies for hours triggered a lot of the panic and the terror they went through that night, and even though Warren’s psychiatrist highly recommended he comes face to face with the man who shot him, he still refused to do it. By 8 A.M., the ground floor corridor was already filled with reporters, deputies, protesters and curious spectators. I walked between the crowd, unnoticed, and was escorted into the courtroom located on the second floor after being frisked for weapons by a deputy. Upstairs, friends and family members were rushing into the room, eager to finally lay their eyes on the man who murdered their loved ones. I sat down quietly on the bench located in the middle on the right side of the courtroom. After the commissioner, lawyers and prosecutors took their positions and the room was completely full, it was time for Matt to make his entrance. A deputy gestured moments later, and the door finally opened. Every single person in the room, including me, turned our heads and fixated our eyes on the door. A couple of minutes later, Matt came out. I was shocked to see how drastically his appearance had deteriorated since the last time I saw him. He was thin, his face pale and looking all boney. His hair was starting to turn gray, and dark circles covered his blue eyes, now way lighter. He was wearing the usual orange jail garb and black shoes. Walking in, I hoped he wouldn’t see me but he did, and that’s the only time his emotionless face showed what seemed to me a glimpse of a smile.
During the hearing, Matt paid very little attention to what the judge had to say to him. He sat comfortably in his chair and stared at the floor the whole time. When people first heard about the terrible things that he has confessed to doing, everyone thought he was crazy, which made me question whether Matt was as psychiatrists put it, legally insane or psychotic. To prove his insanity, the defense had to convince the judge or the jury that he is crazy, meaning that there’s a genetic defect in Matt’s brain which, apparently, wasn’t the case. Matt, as much as I want to deny it, is a coldhearted murderer. A complete psychopath who knew was he was doing. He thoroughly planned his murders and was in total control of whether he wanted to commit them or not. His behavior was calculated not bizarre. He didn’t murder people in the spur of the moment. Everything was premeditated.
Matt’s total detachment from everything that was happening in court angered many members of the victims’ families. One after the other, relatives and family members walked up to the stand to testify about the last time they saw their now lost loved ones. I recognized some of the victims’ names and that immediately brought me back to the day I was discovered the basement where Matt kept all the evidence of his secret life. When the names of the couple I helped Matt burn and bury came up, my heart started racing and my palms started sweating. I became so paranoid and the chills I got just thinking about that night made me want to leave the courtroom, but I didn’t want to cause any disturbance so I pulled myself together and kept a straight head. It was then that I realized that I’ve never in my life had seen that such a deranged individual could exist. The whole scene of Matt senselessly slaughtering those people replayed in my mind. I was sitting in a courtroom with the devil himself. The devil who changed my life — forever.