VIOLENCE MADE HER A LIAR by Marilyn Campbell-Lowe

The alarm went off at 6 AM, and Gloria jumped up! She was excited to start her first day on her new job. It had taken her a long time to find this position. She had interviewed in many places. She was proud and excited to have landed such a prestigious job. Added to that she would be working for a true heroine of the women’s movement, Charlotte Kline. Charlotte was strong, brilliant, famous in the Public Relations world, and Gloria was to be her assistant! Okay most of what she would be doing was typing but still, she would learn and she would be around Charlotte. Gloria thought of herself as a feminist. She had burned her bra in college. Written on the subject. Performed Margaret Sanger on the radio. She stood for women’s rights in this new dawning of the second wave.

So the alarm went off at 6 AM, and Gloria jumped up, took her shower, put on her brand new clothes, paid for with the money her mother had sent, and looked at herself long and hard in the mirror. Then time came rushing in. Thoughts came rushing in. What was she going to tell Charlotte? How would she explain this on her first day! It was so awfully embarrassing.

Gloria’s mind suddenly switched into survival mode. What lie could she tell that would make sense? That would sound believable? The lies came rushing in so easily it surprised her. She had fallen downstairs. Run into a door. Her baby had hit her with a wooden block. “Wait, I know, yes, that’s perfect, he’s a soccer player after all.” The lie formed an idyllic scene in her head. She imagined a sunny, summer blue sky, the bright green expansive lawn of Prospect Park, Brooklyn, where the men played soccer through the summer every Sunday. “Yes, that sounds convincing,” she told the distorted form the mirror.

“What happened to you?” Charlotte would ask. And Gloria would be quick to answer, “I know, can you believe it! On my first day of work no less?! Yesterday, I was with some friends for a family picnic in Prospect Park where our husbands were playing soccer in a championship game. We were winning. We were up by two. I was sitting with the other wives and children on the sidelines, thank goodness the baby was in her carriage, because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time let me tell you. All of a sudden this soccer ball flies right at me and hits me hard in the face. I just didn’t see it coming. It came out of nowhere. Ha, ha, ha.”

And that’s exactly how she explained it to her new boss the next day. That’s how she explained the swollen, blue, painful, embarrassing, helpless, frozen, beaten down, worthless, ineffective, loser, whore, lying piece of shit, left black eye, that her husband had given her the night before her first day, working a prestigious job, for a heroine of the women’s movement.

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