I was sitting in alone in a small workplace breakroom, at maximum it will comfortably hold 8–10 people, often it is empty. I had been there alone for a few minutes when an elderly white woman joined me, sitting not quite across from me but in the next seat over. I knew her name as we’d often said hello in passing. I knew nothing of her life. Her body was betraying her, she had a slight hunch and varicose veins. She seemed like she might be working past retirement age, I guessed in her late 60’s or early 70’s but I had never inquired about her circumstances. We worked in the same building but in different departments, I might see and speak to her once or twice a month.
I was checking the news on my cell-phone when she asked, “Have you been following the Kavanaugh hearings?”
I said, “I have, very closely as a matter of fact.”
She said, “I watched as much as I could of Dr. Ford’s testimony before coming to work. I believe her!”
“I do too.”
Bt then I’d looked up from my phone, she wasn’t looking at me but rather off in the distance. She didn’t say anything for a while and I went back to the news. A couple minutes passed and she spoke again.
“I told my daughter yesterday for the first time what I experienced, I remember it now as if it were yesterday. What happened to me was over 40 years ago and I could tell she was telling the truth. I’d never told anyone before but I had to tell someone so I told her.
The last time I saw the man was when he preached my father’s funeral. He was the pastor and everyone loved him. I loved him too as a preacher.”
She told me how he was always getting young girls in a position where he’d be alone with them. She wasn’t explicit, often saying, “if you know what I mean” or “he would do his business.” I made some acknowledgments along the way that I heard her but nothing I said was of any importance. I’m not usually at a loss for words but my role at this time was more about listening rather than talking.
She rose to leave, looking directly at me for the first time.
“The first time I ever spoke about this was yesterday, and now I’ve told you.”
Then she walked away.