I was in the copy room of the county courthouse copying several documents that I had just received from the other attorney when an older lawyer walked in reading a book in one hand and holding a stack of papers in another. He thrust the papers at me and I took them from him puzzled by what he wanted me to do with them.
"Excuse me, what are these?" I asked the other lawyer.
"Documents that have to be copied." he said with his nose still stuck in his book.
It took me a moment to realize what he was implying, but when I did I was appalled. I thrust the papers back at the man, "Copy them yourself!" I said with a disgusted tone. The older lawyer looked up from his book and then snapped it shut. He put the book back into the pocket of his black business suit and grabbed me by the collar of my own business suit.
"What did you say woman?" asked the old lawyer, obviously offended at what I told him.
I was starting to get scared, but still I swallowed hard and replied, my voice quivering slightly, "I said to do it yourself."
The man reached back and slapped me hard across my face leaving a stinging red mark on my cheek. "Listen here young lady." said the old man, "You will make these copies or else I will report your actions to the courthouse supervisor and get you fired!" At this comment I gained a little confidence.
"Excuse me, sir, but I graduated top of my class at Harvard Law School and have my own law practice. I doubt you could get me fired." This comment left my offender off balance and before he could reply, I pulled away from his grip on my collar and left the room.
Later when I saw him in the hallway he didn't even meet my stare.
That night at home, I mentioned what happened to my husband over the dinner table. He didn't respond for several moments, he just sat there sucking on his chicken bone staring at me. Then he said, "Well, maybe you should've been nice and made the copied for him.
I stopped eating and stared at him. I could not believe my ears! My own husband was siding with that ignorant and stereotypical old fart! I felt a surge of anger bubble-up in my throat, but I suppressed it by swallowing hard. I strained to hold back that anger as I said, "He was being stereotypical. Not all women in a copying room are secretaries."
My husband just sat there chewing his chicken like curd and staring at me like a cow. Then he responded, "Well, honey, you were dressed the role today." That was it! I was amazed that I was married to this man. As I swallowed the last of my chicken my husband dropped the bone that he had been sucking on and wiped his mouth with his sleeve. The, he came over to me and started to unbutton the coat that I was still wearing from earlier today.
"Speaking of dressing the role," said my husband, his voice turning to a seducing hiss, "how's about you dress for another role tonight."
I shook him off and stood-up. "I cannot believe you!" I shouted, there goes suppressing my anger. "You think that women can be pushed around and shoved like that. Do you think that we are just second class citizens? Well, I am pretty sure that in America, we were elevated to human status with the Nineteenth Amendment!"
"Now, honey…" my husband started, but I cut him off.
"Don't 'now honey me!'. I am tired of this!" I screamed as I pulled my jacket from behind my husband's back and put it on. My anger felt like white-hot magma and I could feel it grow hotter with every word. I grabbed my purse that lay limply on the kitchen counter and walked out the door leaving my stunned husband with pieces of chicken left on his face and hands.
I got into my car and backed out of the driveway. I lingered in front of my house and honked several times before driving away. I drove as far as I could and then checked into a hotel in the next town. I spent the rest of my night watching television and eating Chinese food.
The next morning I woke-up amidst a forest of empty take-out cartons and rumpled bed sheets. I slowly got out of bed and walked to the bathroom. There I took a shower and redressed afterwards. I left the hotel and went to work.
My office phone was littered with messages from my husband; some demanded I come home, while others begged me to return. I calmly ignored them as I went about my day as if it were any other day. After work, I returned to the hotel from the night before instead of heading home. I wasn't ready to forgive my husband yet. I ordered room service and ate on the bed watching television.
This routine continued for three more days and at the end of the third day, I felt that I was ready to return home. I was taking a shower in preparation for the ride home when I heard a knock on my hotel room door. It was probably room service, I thought to myself. I shut of the water and put on a robe. I was about to put on my contacts when there came another impatient knock on my hotel room door. "Okay, I'm coming!" I yelled. I hurried to the door through my blurry room and opened the door to a blurry man standing at the door.
"Hello, can I help you?" I asked to the man.
"Yes, are you Whitney?" he asked looking at my robe.
Feeling uneasy I tightened the strap on my robe, "No I am not, but who are you?"
"You must be Whitney, you look just like the picture on the website. I am your four o'clock appointment" said the man whose voice started to sound familiar.
"No, I am not Whitney, but I suggest that you ask the front desk for the correct room." I said nervously.
"Wow, you are funny Whitney. I like you!" said the man as he started to push his way into the room. His voice really sounded familiar, almost like my husbands, however I definitely knew that he was drunk.
"Can you please leave Mr. you are really scaring me!" I cried.
"Come on, let's get started." said the mysterious man as he started unbuttoned his gray shirt.
"Please stop!" I said as I started to head toward the door.
"Come here you!" the man said playfully. His shirt was fully off now revealing his hairy bear belly, and then he grabbed my robe and pulled me toward him.
"Stop!" I screamed hoping that someone would hear me, the beginning of tears running down my face.
"Come here!" commanded the man now. He gave a hard tug and completely pulled off my robe. Now, he grabbed my bare leg and pulled me toward him. He smelled of beer and sweat.
"Stop!" I screamed louder now with tears streaming down my face. I pounded on his chest, but it was in vain. He pulled me underneath him and half crushed me. I was screaming and crying, but he paid no attention. Just as I was about pass out, I smelled the scent of chicken in his breath.
I never came to.