Amber Leigh Johnson sat in the third row left side seat second from the aisle in U.S. District Court for Eastern Arkansas as Gad become her habit on the second Wednesday of every month for the past five years. A failed law school student turned state employee, Amber Leigh found the proceedings to be an escape from the normal humdrum of her milquetoast existence.
Making the short walk from her office to 500 West Capitol once a month in her best suit and heels and wearing the pearls her mother passed on to her during her last few days on this side of glory made her somehow feel like she was more than the sum of the paltry number that appeared on her twice monthly paycheck. Walking through those courtroom doors with the briefcase her father had bought her the day she started law school kept at bay the dark thoughts that whispered horrible things to her outside the protection of this sacred space.
The seat had a familiar squeak that assured Amber Leigh that it would hold her 186 pound frame once again. She scanned the room for familiar faces and recognized one of the bailiffs who gave her a bold wink before resuming his duties. Amber Leigh felt her skin warm and almost elbowed the person sitting to her left as she reached for her briefcase to retrieve her legal pad and pen.
“I’m so sorry,” she began as she looked into the eyes of a woman she didn’t recognize who seemed particularly agitated for the early morning. The woman shot back a mean look and muttered something something unintelligible under her breath before recrossing her legs and leaning away from Amber Leigh clutching herself and tapping her foot. The sound of the door opening loudly in the front of the courtroom distracted Amber Leigh from pursuing the incident further as the bailiff called out, “All rise! The Honorable Judge Lisa Abernathy presiding!”
To be continued…
Marta C. Youngblood is a writer, education and social entrepreneur based in Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information on her current projects visit https://about.me/MCyoungblood.