The next day was a blur. As a Georgia resident, I was represented by the government about to execute him. If the execution was done in my name, did that implicate me as well? I imagined death by lethal injection to be like a visit to the doctor’s office, only after they give you the injection your vision starts to swirl and fade until you slump over the examination table, dead.

My father finished work early that day, so I rode the bus home. I found him in the living room, watching news of the event. Even he, normally skeptical and disinterested in social justice, racial politics, and media hype, had taken a keen interest in the Troy Davis case. This was something different.

Two hours until the execution.

Troy Davis’s execution wouldn’t cause me any pain. My life would go on more or less unchanged. But the idea that a potentially-innocent man could be executed in twenty-first century America made me nervous. It frightened me. If Troy Davis was executed innocent, one day I could be executed for a crime I never committed. Even watching TV couldn’t calm my nerves, so I lay on the sofa, hands intertwined, counting the minutes. Ninety minutes until execution. Eighty minutes. Seventy. Sixty.

I dozed off until my father’s voice bellowed through the house.

“Gautam, did you see the news? The Supreme Court stayed the execution!”

I held my breath. “Stayed?”

“Yes,” he said. “It’s been stayed until the Supreme Court reviews his appeal.”

I called my mother, but she already knew.

Troy Davis wasn’t dead. Not today.

But what now?

I was no longer gliding along, day by day. I’d been full of purpose the past few weeks, driven—like I had something to fight for. I got off the sofa and fired up my computer. I was going to write Troy Davis.

Previous: Part I, Section III

Next: Part II, Section I


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