Three weeks ago I listened and typed feverishly as Prosecutor Lisa McGovern and defense attorney William Sullivan laid out for jurors their unique perspectives on the murder of Lauren Astley.
I watched as McGovern described a brutal, purposeful murder and Sullivan told of a tragic mental breakdown. I saw the defendant, Nathaniel Fujita, sit quietly on the right side of the courtroom as 18 months of hearings and motions and planning culminated in his first-degree murder trial.
For three weeks, a string of 33 witnesses walked up the center aisle of Courtroom 530 at Middlesex Superior Court; through an opening in a short, mahogany paneled partition; past the eyes of 16 jurors; and took a seat in the witness stand.
Constant motion; constantly flowing information; constant opportunities to hear and see and take in.
And now, I wait.
With yesterday's closing statements, a jury of eight men and four women took over ... but their work is out of my eye and ear shot.
Judge Peter Lauriat told them Tuesday as he handed over the case that their job is one of critical importance.
"Your role, ladies and gentlemen, is the most important role in this trial," Lauriat said. "All that matters is what you find the facts to be."
And so, I wait.
Jurors began their deliberations for the day at about 9:15 a.m., and until they have a question to ask or a verdict to deliver, I'm relegated to the courthouse hallway with the other reporters, camera operators and the dedicated few folks who are determined to wait until the verdict is reached.
No one calls reporters when a verdict is about to be read. Attorneys, prosecutors, the families, of course, receive a phone call that they need to head to the courtroom.
Reporters, well, we just wait. And watch for the people that matter in this case to come down the hall and into the courtroom.
For now, I'm working, returning phone calls, responding to email (sorry, if I haven't gotten back to you these past few days). At some point, I might give up and play Words with Friends.
But the key part of today, at least so far, is waiting.
And there are no guarantees that the jury will reach a verdict today ... if not, then I'll be here tomorrow.
Waiting ... and knowing that so many other people are just waiting, too.