“Please state your name for the record.” My attorney, Charles Crenshaw, instructed.
“Carrie Anne Lambert.”
“Ms. Lambert, what was your relationship with Arianna Fowler?”
“I was her partner.”
“When did you first meet Arianna?
“Two years ago while I was walking to work.”
“What was she doing when you first saw her?”
“Playing her guitar for money from passersby.”
“Arianna was sixteen when you first met her, was she not?”
“Yes, she was.”
“Why was Arianna panhandling at sixteen?”
“She was homeless, though I didn’t know at the time until she told me her mother had kicked her out when she confessed she was pregnant. What Arianna didn’t tell her mother at the time was that she had been raped.”
“Sixteen, homeless, and pregnant. Who’s to say Arianna’s mother wouldn’t kick out her granddaughter if history were to repeat itself?”
“Objection!” Attorney Glen Laughlin called out in Laura Fowler’s defense.
Laura, Arianna’s mother, had sued me for custody of her granddaughter, Brighton, but I was determined to win and raise Brighton as I had promised Arianna. I felt I had every right to raise her since I'd been there when she was born and handed her to Arianna. In that brief moment when I looked down at the tiny miracle I was holding so gently in my arms, I felt as if I'd found something I had been searching for my whole life; in that one precious moment, time stood still... Everything changed for the better. I longed for court and the day to be over so Brighton and I could visit Arianna; I only hoped it was me Brighton would be leaving with.
My thoughts were interrupted when Judge Raskins, an overweight African-American woman in her late thirties, pounded the gavel and called for order while mine and Laura’s attorney’s argued inaudibly.
“Choose your words more carefully.” Judge Raskins ordered my attorney.
“Sorry, your honor,” he apologized. “Now, Ms. Lambert, would you care to share with us the events which led up to today?”
“Yes. I also have Arianna’s journal with me. I’d like to read it while I share my own experiences, if that’s alright.”
Judge Raskins okayed my reading the journal, and I began:
* * * * * * * * * *
“It was a cool October morning and stores I passed were getting into the Halloween spirit with their windows each decorated with witches, ghosts, black cats, jack-o-lanterns and other festive adornments. I stopped at my favorite coffee house, Java Nut, as I had every morning, sat at my usual table by the windows, and began reading the newspaper. That’s when I first saw Arianna playing her guitar. Although she was across the street, and a bit difficult to see, there was something about her which made me instantly attracted to her.
Once I finished my coffee, I hurried across the street to see her and I noticed passersby dropping coins into her guitar case, so I rummaged through my pockets to find any money I could give her; since I never carry money, only credit cards, I was unable to spare much. She smiled so beautifully and thanked me so sweetly, though she looked so sad and so lonely when I looked in her eyes. I had time left before I had to leave for work, so I stayed a few more minutes and Arianna smiled every time she looked at me. One thing I always noticed about Arianna was she loved to smile; no matter how bad the situation was, she always found a reason to smile.
Five minutes later I unfortunately had to leave, so I said goodbye then continued on my way. Every morning after that, I made sure I had money to give her. A couple weeks later as I was crossing the street to go to her, I saw a teenage boy standing near her and as I walked toward them he grabbed the money from Arianna’s guitar case and ran.”
“Damn it, not again!” Arianna muttered with a sigh.
“Again? Does that happen often?” I asked her.
“Actually, yes.” She laughed.
|Emily Browning||as Arianna Fowler|
|Maggie Grace||as Carrie Lambert|