Chapter 2

Written by: Joe Labrum

I thought I had outgrown my adolescent need to defend my manhood. But big sister’s greeting transported me back to a time long forgotten. Funny how Lucinda’s arrogance put me on the defensive like no one else could, and after all these years. I nearly forgot I am the victim here. I collect myself and give her a steely stare.

“Well, hello sis,” I say with artful sarcasm, extending a hand across the table. “How nice to see you. Kind of like old times, isn’t it?” A small chuckle slips out.

“What do you mean, like old times?” Lucinda demands. She cradles her injured hand taking full advantage of the opportunity to refuse my greeting.

“Somehow the situation reminded me of you getting caught smuggling vodka onto the senior cruise in your purse, I’m sure you remember. You did have a reputation for bold moves, didn’t you?”

The facilitator casts a serious look in my direction then turns to the offender. She clearly doesn't want to use her time in this way. 

“I’m sure you two have a lot to talk about,” she says, “Perhaps after this you can meet for tea. Shall we get started?”

A blush of embarrassment warms my face as I glance at Donna trying not to let my discomfort show. My adversary, the intoxicated driver who destroyed my car, I remind myself, immediately senses my vulnerability and is emboldened by it. She sits directly across the table from me. Because of a happenstance of body type she appears much taller, intimidatingly so. Her family carries their height in their trunk. I, being French, carry mine in my legs. I remember sitting with girls at the malt shop as a kid and people asking if I was the little brother. I was humiliated by it then and continue to be as an adult. The offender straightens in her seat even more, staring down at me as I slump in my flimsy plastic chair.

“Barry, why don’t we start with you telling us how you remember the incident,” Donna suggests. Her clinically soothing voice returns. 

“Yes m’am.” 

I open a manila file folder I have brought with me and paw through the papers it contains: police accident report, witness statements, repair estimates, etc. But, I can't find the written account of the accident I have prepared. I begin to panic. I look through the papers again, and success. In my nervousness, I had overlooked it the first time. All is good. I am ready. I swill a swallow from a bottle of water and take a deep breath. Slowly I begin to read my statement, haltingly at first. Donna asks me to speak a little louder. I get through it without much difficulty.

“What would you like to add, Lucinda,” Donna asks, turning to face her. 

“That’s not what happened at all,” Lucinda spits out the words. “Are we talking about the same event?”




Drunk remberance of an event is different from the lucid/non-alcoholic memory: good finish Joe.
Yes, this carried the story on really well. Again the atmosphere was well captured. Many of us have been in situations like the one in the church hall.
Good work Joe.