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Archive for the ‘sexual harrassment’ Category

It was a state dinner for the Dept of Education. At a table for ten, I sat between  a superintendent and a colleague. My ego was soaring when the superintendent recognized me as  “that poet. ” Laughter and good dialogue poured around the table. Then gradually, all conversations  reduced to silence. The superintendent was keeping the bar busy and soon his hands began to get just as active. I felt his arm go from my shoulders down to my waist.

“Robert, “, I whispered to my colleague, “His hands are all over me.”

Robert sneaked a look at the exploring hand and looked concerned. When the hand began to caress my neck, Robert, without turning his head,   took hold of the superintendent’s hand and slowly removed it off my shoulder and neck. Within seconds, fireworks!

He shouted at Robert, “You damn Haole ( Caucasian) , who do you think you are. You think you Haoles can come here and take over our women? You guys need to go back where you came from!”

Robert didn’t say anything. The others around the table looked uncomfortable, staring down at their plates.   I was still  inexperienced in dealing with such a public and personal situation; I was a new transfer  from the Big Island to Honolulu. It was my first year at the University of Hawaii  as a curriculum writer for the Dept of Education. This creep whose hands were exploring me was my boss and my bank as he was for the others around our table. Today I would have stood and left.

He continued his rampage. “Let’s settle this outside. “He stood, daring Robert to fight it out in the parking lot. Robert  is a gentleman from Boston and he still has not yet gotten a Hawai’ian tan.

Suddenly I’m in a romantic novel in another century.  OMG, I’m thinking. Here are two men ready to fight a duel over me. How about that? Chivalry is still alive. Wait till I tell my friends back home. Hey, maybe there’s a poem here.

Then Switch. I’m back at the table.

Robert sat without saying a word, ignoring this loud, incoherent voice demanding him to meet him in the parking lot. “Come on. What’s the matter? Can’t stand up for your women?”

“Robert,” I whispered. “Let’s get out of here.”

We both stood  and left with the voice still yelling dares to Robert.  Without a word to each other, we walked to our own cars and drove home. My inner dialogue  of an apologetic call on Monday morning followed me home. Come Monday, it remained a fantasy.

Oh, Mr. Hamilton, why did you have to die?

 

(this is an excerpt from a short story of other Burrs.)

 

 

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