You're aware of the Seattle girl/woman imprisoned in Italy for killing her roommate. Of course you are. During the past four years you've heard her name hissed, spit bluntly, and chanted, the sibilant X at the end the perfect cupped-tongued reverberation for however compassionately or angrily you want her syllables to drop from your lips. You pass the TV and think Maybe... What do I know?
It isn't until the week before the verdict on her appeal is expected that you really pay attention. You read the Rolling Stone feature, whose author exonerates her of committing a crime. You read other stories, too, where she's made out to be a slutty drug user with no regard for human life.
But you really start to watch her in court. You begin trolling the internet for news.
She's innocent, you think. Any halfway observant fool can see that. She moves with a gentle gait. She is full of emotion, but it's not remorse. She's done nothing for which to feel remorse. Her visible emotion is fear and anguish over what she's been through and her uncertain future.
You recognize another good girl when you see her. And you become a little preoccupied with her fate.
On the day her appeal verdict is announced, you sit in front of the TV waiting, actually shaky and teary. You realize you're ridiculous, but you can't help it. There is something about her you relate to. Not that you had the chance to travel abroad in college or visit that particular hilltown where she was kept, not that you're anywhere near her age. And even though you live in Seattle now, it is not your hometown.
It's her earnestness. Her anxiety.
When they announce her acquittal, you're elated. The world is an okay place. Justice, sometimes, still wins.
You watch her dad patiently field questions on the local news. You admire him. You wish the best for his daughter.
You know you'll encourage your own daughter to travel every chance she gets. It is already clear that she is also a good girl, that she wants to be a helpful, thoughtful person. Maybe she'll go to UW, too. Maybe she'll travel to Italy, where her parents went on their honeymoon. And probably everything will be fine.
But still, you wonder.
Mostly, though, you feel for this 24-year-old you've never met and likely never will.
You hope she'll be okay.