What the Arraignment Meant

Gary and Sheila Powers

You can take it or leave it. I'm not saying I'm blameless. I'm not saying that none of the charges are true, that none of this is my fault. What I'm asking for is an open mind, that's all. I'm saying there is a starting point to every event, and where people place that starting point can make one heck of a difference.

What I'm saying is that when I held my mother's face in my stubby little five-year-old hands and kissed her, her eyes got all watery and she said, "You weren't supposed to be born," like I was the most precious thing on earth. That’s one place to start. And later, when I was thirteen and secretly taped her calls and threatened to play them back for my Dad, she said the same thing, only a lot louder. "You should'a never been born," she screamed. Then she huffed out of the room. That’s a second point of departure. After their divorce I told Mom I never should have been born. She added ice to her vodka and said, "It's not your fault."  She understood, she said. That’s launching pad number three.

You want the truth, and I’m trying my best to tell it. But a paid-for-ticket at the wrong gate gets you nowhere, wouldn’t you say?  So where is the starting point, I mean where do you begin?

I for one would like to start by saying I don't like the prosecutor doing what he's doing when he refers to me by name. Gary Powers, that's my name. That's a fact. But he's trying to turn coincidence into something it's not, or maybe he's appealing to something deep and mean in people, trying to squeeze out every ounce of meanness in their brain. It's hard for people to do good, hard enough without somebody bringing the devil out in them. So what if my first name is Francis?  Nobody, I mean nobody, ever, ever called me Francis, not once, never. I can't help it if a guy who was never supposed to be born arrived on earth the day the Russians shot down the U2.