A long time ago I went down to Indianapolis to take a test
with several of my university classmates. We stayed at a Holliday
Inn. After the test, three of us gathered in my room to debrief.
Bob had brought his wife, whom neither I or Tom had met
before. Bob was always a quiet man, but he would get animated,
though somehow timidly, when we involved ourselves in conversations
between classes on various subjects back at university. His wife;
what can I say: a louder fouler mouth I had not known since
the Marine Corps. My room had twin beds, and we three
classmates sat on them our legs in the space between. We began excitedly
talking about the test: “What did you answer on that question? What
about that one?” sort of thing. We became three college friends
sharing an experience with Bob increasingly joining in. We hadn’t
been that way more than ten minutes, when Bob’s wife, who
I had met less than a half hour before, began to talk from the
kitchenette where she was standing about how when she
had reported being raped at the police station the police had
paid her little attention. The room went silent. And Bob in
a quiet voice said: “Please don’t talk about that.” I was
sitting so my face was no more than three feet from his.
I saw the light go from his eyes. It was as if I was then looking
through the glass of a coffin.
That was almost thirty years ago. It haunts me still.