Number Nine

I stood frozen, files scattered on the court’s yard.

“Number nine!”

The judge was calling out my case number. And I was stuck thinking, what were the odds the folder straps would snap the exact moment my nerves were also about to? 156 pages of corporate law pleadings and an overdue bill soaking in the rain puddles. I had been preparing for this “Judgment Day” for months, nitpicking on my own commas, until my eyelids were blinking more than the cursor on the screen…

All for a desperately needed paying job serving a justice blinded by punctuation marks.

My mind was blank. The neon yellow of highlighted text on the scattered exhibits spelled vertigo.

Briefcases and perfumed coats were passing by me. “I am not the woman I thought I was”; it hit me again, like the day of my bar exam in that buzzing auditorium…

“Number nine!”

A panic attack was due, when my eyes met those of a little refugee girl. She sat across the yard, stale crumbs of pie in her palm while her parents pored over their asylum papers. Her eyes, empty and full at the same time, had a voice of their own. A voice I knew, from my high school volunteering days in “The Smile of the Child”…

Briefcases and perfumed coats were passing her by. “Individuation through humanity”; my college Sociology professor had always had a thing for Jung… Never had I felt more true than when I was nitpicking on commas for his human rights’ assignments.

The canteen was a breath away, its pies steaming, freshly baked.

So was my heart; “I am exactly the woman I thought I was”.

I don’t remember how I went in and lost that corporate law case; but I‘ll never forget how warm the pie I shared with that child was.

[My first flash fiction attempt and entry for the International Flash Fiction Competition (British Council & Kingston Writing School)]


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