AQA AS English module 3

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AS English Language & Literature                 Kenny Martin

A Degree in the University of Life

It was a blisteringly cold day outside. The clock indicated 8am on a Monday morning. January 18th 2006. Steven had awoken to a wintry chill up his spine. For a very brief moment he had imagined he wasn’t in that cell, lying on that poor excuse for a bed. Steven was a tall man, 6ft 5; the beds were barely 6ft long. He was enduring that kind of sensation one experiences once in a while immediately after awakening. As if everything is alright. As if that day is going to go well. Although it always ceases to be the case. However, this day was an exception. Steven was getting out. This was the day that Steven was up for parole after serving twenty years of his life sentence. Murder was the charge. Convicted in 1986. Throughout his stay, Steven had taken so many beatings, that he sometimes believed he had actually murdered his wife. But on this day, the realization hit him; this wasn’t the case at all. It had all come flooding back to him:

There had been a freak car accident. However, only Steven’s side was fitted with an airbag, his wife’s wasn’t. This caused her head to collide against the dashboard like a sledgehammer smashes through a brick wall. She went into a comatose state… and died shortly after. Steven knew it was an unprecedented car defect, but the manufacturer would deny all claims. The judiciary conjured the bizarre idea that Steven had removed his wife’s airbag, and crashed deliberately in an attempt to kill her. Furthermore, two other people were injured in an oncoming car which hit Steven’s - he took the rap for that too.

Steven had never killed his wife. He loved his wife, oh the times they spent together. Five years of marriage. Relatively short, though they were a relatively young couple, living a relatively young lifestyle. Steven thought back to a time he had always held sacred in his heart. He and his wife, Julia, had been lying in the hilly meadow near their three bedroom mortgaged house in Southern Yorkshire. Out of sight, they lay on their sides facing each other. It was a warm day in June. The weather was flawless. Words need not be exchanged; for this was a moment of consummation. They’d been together four years, first together at the youthful, naïve age of sixteen. They married at the age of nineteen. Steven had never quite noticed how beautiful Julia was. Her blonde hair and brown eyes glistening in the calm breeze and the warm sun. The feeling was reciprocated, Steven’s brown hair and blue eyes made him more attractive to Julia. In this moment he knew his love for her was stronger than ever…

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Steven’s bittersweet nostalgia was officiously interrupted as the warden stood at his cell entrance. “Come on now, it’s time.” Steven had immense butterflies in his stomach on his journey to the parole office. As he was passing the other inmates’ cells they were hurling slurring remarks at him from all directions, expectedly. “You’ll never get out, wife killer!” was just one of the many vilifying insults that came his way. What happened in there could make or break him for the last time. Although somehow, he had an inclination, a proclivity of sorts that told him this was his day.


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