In 2009 I was told that an Ex -boyfriend of mine was in gaol. The person who told me this was reliable in that she was down with the word around town. A Gossip Girl, to borrow a euphemism.
I was shocked and concerned so I questioned fast, hard. She clearly wasn’t expecting this interrogation and because Ex had dated a mutual friend of ours, Gossip Girl reluctantly told me the specifics of the case. Unfortunately, she had a fairly plausible story.
This Ex of mine was a good person. He was a kind, soft soul. A family man, who adored his only sister. A young guy when I knew him, he kept his parents happy by staying employed and saving his money. A good, respectful son. An upstanding citizen for a twenty-something fella.
It was a short relationship but I liked this guy. He was a good person who immediately, involuntarily gave his everything. He was bright, witty, very attractive and he had great hair. Gorgeous, long, thick hair. He was without compromise, quite the Adonis and undoubtedly, the loveliest young man I ever had the pleasure of dating.
It goes without saying that upon my return home I Googled the hell out of his unique name and it goes without saying that of course, I found nothing. I stayed on the case for a while, scouring the internet for a clue of what had happened. As the days turned into weeks, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d been party to back fence talk. She had facts outrageously wrong and probably on purpose.
Fucking Gossip Girl.
Years went by without bumping into my Ex, Gossip Girl, or our mutual friend. I had moved to Sydney and lived far from all three people, so the chances of seeing anyone were slim. These people were from another lifetime and there would be no contact unless by coincidence.
But I did think of this Ex-boyfriend of mine often. The kind, sensitive, caring guy that I almost loved. The guy who wept the night our relationship ran its course. I will always admire the way this young man displayed such raw sensitivity. He possessed the types of qualities I hope my daughter will look for in her partner when the time comes. Those lovely personal attributes.
The story continued to play on my mind. When I thought of this Ex of mine, I always had the same thought process: Did he do it? Maybe… From what Gossip Girl explained, he could have done so quite easily. He may have… But no! Ex was such a nice guy! There is no way he had that in him. No way…
More than a decade had passed since our innocent little romance. A marriage and two babies later I found myself thinking of Ex again. I was lying in bed, My Man was out at a concert and my baby daughter slept beside me.
I Googled his name and there in black and white, one lone article that detailed the crime.
With this revelation began a tirade of fierce, frenzied Googling. Names, street names, work places, hangouts, friends’ names, the make and model of his car. Everything I could remember. Anything I could read between the lines of this one online article. I was determined to know.
Hours passed with nothing. Nothing until I searched the databases of the Supreme Court of NSW.
Ex v Regina.
Guilty as all hell.
Sadly I read through the court notes.
Crime committed 2002
Release date 2011
Desperate. Devastated. Overwhelmed.
I was getting married back in ‘02 and he was allegedly planning a crime. I lived the best years of my life while he was incarcerated. I was planning to start my family while he had hit the pause button on his. Instead of finding his one true love like I did, he found the inside of a gaol cell.
Shame. Stigma. Dishonour.
His poor family.
People do bad things. We stuff up.
Some of us commit crimes.
We say bad things. Steal things.
We hurt ourselves. Hurt others.
I respect our laws. I know he did a terrible thing. He committed a crime. But when I think of Ex, I can’t help but feel concern.
I hope his experience has not completely damaged that sensitivity, that loveliness.
I hope he is healthy of mind.
I hope the trauma his family went through has subsided.
I hope that some semblance of normality has been reinstated for them all.
Sometimes good people make big mistakes.
Like the Ex-boyfriend I can’t stop thinking about.