Today was a very important day for me, as it is my first day free from government supervision. To the day, my ordeal began 5 years ago, and it ended yesterday, Sunday the 27th. I very much wanted to spend my first day of "freedom" with the person who, more than anyone, kept me from going to prison.
As I was taking the Metro to meet Elita for lunch, I spent most of the time thinking about when we first met, how I felt when I first met her that day in court for my arraignment, our subsequent meetings in prison, and after my release. How she drove all the way to Philadelphia to be my "date" when I was made a "Legend" in my profession, how she spent an entire afternoon with me driving around where I grew up when I came back to DC to fix my mom's house up so it could be sold. And the most important thing she said to me, "Trip, the Court knows you're a criminal, and that's all they know. What we need to do is to show them that there is an entirely different side to you...another life." It was that single statement that had more impact on me personally than anything else that Elita said to me. And the results of that statement impacted the judge to the point that he decided not to send me to prison.
At the time of my arrest, I was in a strange city, I had no money, no friends. The Court had to appoint a Public Defender to represent me, and that was Elita. I would never, ever been able to find or get a better attorney, even if I had all the money in the world. And I know that it was no "luck" that brought us together.