A Girl’s Nightmare
She loved to scoop fire into her lap and watch it almost burn. She loved to walk the lines between haven and evil. She was nineteen; curious but unexposed. The world was her dance floor. Her dreams were big, her mind was intelligent, and her body belied her age.
“So why law school? I personally have little faith in the justice system of this country.”
She smiled. Not because she agreed, but because in the two hours since they’d settled in the kitchen, that was the first smart thing he’d said. Shallow, cliché even, but smart. He’d opened the doors to something other than how powerful his family was or how every girl in the city would gladly exchange places with her this minute.
Well what do you know, she thought. He does speak erudite. Her smile widened; she did not agree with him.
“Why?” she asked. “Why this lack of faith in the laws?”
He was quiet, thought for a while and then said, “It’s a tool for the rich.”
A tool for the rich. She repeated over and over in her head. She believed in the justice system. Perhaps the Frederick Bastait argument? She believed in the ability of the law to protect rights and property. That’s why she was a law student. She planned to make her way into the Attorney General’s department and prosecute criminals who infringed on human rights: murderers, rapists and corrupt politicians alike. She’d fight the good fight; the fight to ensure equity at all levels of society. She thought of Natalia Poklonskaya and smiled even wider. Just like Natalia.
“Equity is a fantasy; an unattainable ideal cherished by all and achieved by none. Inequality births purpose. The very fabric of society is woven with inequality.”
She was taken aback. Big words from a parochial mind. Had she misjudged? She looked up at him from her ideal world. He didn’t look too dumb tonight. He was suddenly smart and scary. For the thousandth time, she judged the wisdom of her decision to go over to his house that night. She calmed upon the assurance of the fact that she was on her period. Her body eased back into the seat; her mind didn’t.
“I believe in the law”, she managed, swallowing hard. “I know you do. It’s almost cute.”
“Almost cute?” she frowned.
“Yes, you’re a text book ideal. You’ll soon learn the books are not so real.”
“Excuse me?”
“I mean the ideals you read in books, only exist in books. Things are different in the world.”
“Says the man who hates to read! How can you say that with such confidence when you rarely touch the books?”
“I don’t have to know what’s in the books. My father already told me. His father told him. Seeing as they’re both successful men, their word remains credible.”
She was quiet for a while. She had had so many rebuttals to his earlier comment about his lack of faith in the judicial system, but he sounded so sure of himself. Almost convicted. It is hard to argue a conviction; it has a way of flooring any rebuttals.
“It’ll take some very convincing evidence for me to believe.”
“Evidence you say? Another textbook ideal. Sometimes, Maame, it’s okay to just believe. In fact, it’s wise. You don’t need to witness everything.” He paused to observe her. She was frowning. None of it reached her, and he wanted so much for her to get it. She was too green and too curious for her own good and he was beginning to feel affection for her…but only beginning.
She sat there with that husky voice and freshness that any man would find attractive. To the young men, she was simply breathtaking, the type that made you speechless on encounter. To the older men, forty-year-old men such as him, her beauty had meaning. She was an embodiment of an ideal dearly cherished and long lost. She was youth in its purest form. It was hard to sit across beauty like that and hold one’s proclivities. He fought himself a losing battle. It was impossible not to care for her, but it was a care, if uncontrolled, would destroy her. Did she know that? You really shouldn’t have come.
“Care for wine?” He rummaged cabinets.
“I don’t take alcohol.”
“Why not? Because your dad told you not to?”
She was offended. “Yes”, she retorted. “He said alcohol would make me drunk.” She said this with an eye-roll.
“Haha”, he laughed, hard.
She shifted in her seat.
“Drunkenness is a state of the mind. Like all evil, it cannot take over you against your will. Besides, it’s table wine. Nobody ever got drunk from table wine.” As he said this, he fumbled through cabinets for a corkscrew, wine already in hand. He lifted the bottle. “Moldovan. Only seventeen percent alcohol”. She frowned. “Come on, it’s your first time here, that’s a big deal to me.” He gave her a lopsided grin as he opened the last of several cabinets. “I can’t find the corkscrew, would have to employ other means. Here, hold…”
“Is the Complainant in court?”
The shout thrust her from a bitter past into an ever worse present. With great trepidation, she managed to spit out the words, “Yes, my Lord.”