I had hoped we could keep it between the two of us, but the female Lieutenant forced me to tell my Captain what happened before she gave me time off for the procedure. We sat across from him in the otherwise empty ready room. Somewhere the hands of a clock ticked time. Tick, tick, tick, tick, like a time bomb.
“Do you want to file charges?”
“No, sir. I just want to do my job and move on.”
He didn’t seem surprised or angry or sympathetic. His face revealed no emotion at all. Thereafter whenever I needed to evoke military bearing I would recall the image of his face and hope mine displayed the same stony comportment.
“Something has to be done about this. It can’t just keep happening.” Her voice was too loud and too high pitched revealing too much emotion and jeopardizing our chances of being taken seriously. I was acutely aware of her bangs. They made her look so… cute. They were rolled under and hair sprayed into feathery place.
He ignored her, his eyes moved to me from the Lieutenant to my left. “Was it one of my pilots?”
The female Lieutenant was not helping my case. She had her own agenda and she was becoming too emotional with her feathery bangs and suddenly apparent sparkly eye shadow. I wanted to get out of that room as quickly as possible before he thought we were aligned in thought. I knew he had more pressing matters to attend to – like the war we were all busy fighting.
“No, sir. It wasn’t.”
“Would you tell me if it was?” Tick, tick.
Was he testing me to see if I was a truthful person? Was he testing me to see whether I was aligned with the Lieutenant? Was he testing me to see if I really did want to move on and focus on my job? I had no time to deliberate. Tick, tick, tick, tick…
I answered honestly, “No, sir.”