The courthouse was jam-packed. There were no seats to be found any where. It doesn’t help the air con in the building was probably set to low or maybe it was just all the body heat. Nevertheless, it was hotter than a mid-summer’s day.
I took my place as a wallflower next to a bench facing the door I had just entered. Trying my best to avoid eye contact, I eventually gave in after standing there for a good 15-20 minutes and went to find another wall to blend into. During my search for my next wall, a couple stood to leave. I calmly but quickly rushed over to claim one of the golden chairs.
Another girl had the same notion. She abandoned her corner chair which only supported half of her body to find full comfort in the golden chair next to me. I smiled at her. She didn’t care to smile back. If I had to guess, it was probably nerves so I left it at that.
After 10 minutes, I got bored of just sitting there waiting. She had a fan so I asked if I could borrow her fan. It didn’t help it was sticky in the courthouse so I was not about to get stinky while I was at it. The fan was the ice-breaker. She shyly nodded her head and handed the fan to me. I figured I would make conversation since I was using her fan.
I started asking her questions in English. She didn’t really respond. I reverted to my island’s mother tongue, Samoan (which I am not entirely fluent in). That was it. She started to open up and we shared each other’s stories of how we both ended up at the courthouse. They posted the names with offenses on the wall in front of us. Scared to lose our golden chairs, we agreed to hold each other’s seats as we went up to check our names. Ironically, both of our names weren’t on the list.
Fear. That is all I felt, but I saw it in her eyes to. I asked her if she wanted to pray about it and we did. Right there in that courthouse we bowed our heads and prayed over the situation. Afterwards, she said to me “E pule le Atua i mea uma,” which translates: “God is in control.” We walked to the front to report our names weren’t on the list and handed in our tickets.
After a whole 45 minutes of waiting, it was finally time for court. We walked into the courthouse together and were talking as if we’ve known each other for ages even though my Samoan was rustier than an old nail. I’m sure she appreciated the fact she didn’t have to speak English to me.
Our tickets were requited. We walked out extremely happy but at the same time tried to hold it in until we got outside. Outside of the courthouse doors we hugged and said our goodbyes.
I never got her name and I never saw her again afterwards, but I will never forget the girl I prayed in the courthouse with and that one special moment we shared squeezed in the middle of the courthouse hallways.
Daily Prompt: Middle Seat