Archive | December, 2013

Divinity of Hell

13 Dec


Divinity of hell!
When devils will the blackest sins put on
They do suggest at first with heavenly shows — Iago (Othello II.iii.259-61)

“Isn’t that right RED!!!…”he calls as I sit quietly with a journal at Isabella’s, an upscale restaurant in my neighborhood in Lynchburg. In relaxed comfort at 6pm, I was enjoying a single glass of red wine, and some needed introspection.

“Hey RED! RED!!! Isn’t that right?..”

I turn.

I look.

My brow knits into a “Who, me?” expression.

“Hey RED!!… Yeah RED!”

A gentleman in his late fifties to early sixties in a suit and tie continues to call over the bar; his voice fills the nearly empty space. Two female companions and another older gentleman laugh and continue to talk to his right. After another shout, I offer a call back.

“It’s Cyndi”.  I look back down to my journal, ignoring him.

He gets louder. “It’s a complement!” His face begins to change into a familiar look, one I’ve encountered too many times sitting solo at a restaurant. He saunters over and almost ten feet away offers, “When I said Red. . . it’s a complement.. I’m COMPLEMENTING you!!” He continues in loud half inebriation.

I look up.

I reply, regulating out any irritation from my voice. I don’t want this to escalate as he is nearing me.

“Oh, really?” My matter of fact tone blends into “best practice” teacher voice as  I press a bit.”How is that a complement?”

He dons a slightly contemptuous smile and reaches up to pet my hair but moves some strands over instead to reveal a shoulder. Putting his hand on my upper back. . . he squeezes. “Oh, I’m sorry I offended you”, he says with mock concern.

Turning toward him and I directly look through his glasses into eyes that don’t reveal any sort of regret.

“You didn’t offend me …I have a name. And yours is?”

He launches in to an overly dramatic speech, still pressing my shoulder.

“You are so rare (alluding to my hair color) you know… You are so intelligent, passionate! Precious!! And whoever doesn’t know that or doesn’t treat you with all the attention and care you deserve you just shouldn’t waste your time on…Not one minute!”,  he emphatically states. His  expressions now gain momentum to the point where I’m starting to realize that I am in the presence of a man whose shadow side actually hates what a strong woman represents. A self possessed woman is one he cannot possess. And this inability to control…to possess…to own is tied to his own self worth. He masks a persona which I know all too well.

“Oh, really?” I say. “You can tell all that …hmmm…”

“Why yes”, he says as he slips his wedding ringed hand around my back to grasp my waist and draw me closer to him. This unbalances me.

I freeze.

For most women, it seems so benign, and to be polite, they allow a distinguished man in a suit and tie proffering all the praise in the world to place a hand on them…it’s flattering even. And they don’t even recognize that they have given silent permission to be claimed without even knowing they were the prize on the open plain.

I do not let him budge me. I subtly back out of his touch without expression.

He reacts…immediately.


I’ve seen it many times before. Defensive and demeaning, he escalates, his voice heightens and he actually begins to berate me.

“You know I was just trying to show you CARE!” he shouts. “I’m not trying to pick you up or come on to you! What has this country come to when you can’t even show a woman you CARE about her! This is a loving care gesture.” He again tries to touch me and I stop him which elevates his distress. He goes on and on, furiously yelling at me…flashes of “family values” phrasing contrasted against his slurred speech.

Stopping him, I say in a firm voice,“Are you done?” I wait till he takes a breath.

As a little girl, my grandfather taught me that strange men do not have a right to touch me nor invade my personal space. I do not know you. No one touches me without my permission. Period. What is your name?”

Instantly, he becomes dramatically emotional. He tears up… holding back what seems to be a choked sob. I really can’t tell whether its genuine, but at this point, I’m assuming not.

After a few moments of gaining control of what seems to be great emotion he says,

“Well, I kiss your hand as a five year old boy who has been rejected on the playground by a five year old girl…” He takes my right hand, kissing the top of it.

He didn’t ask permission to touch me. I whip my hand away quickly and slide further away from him.

So noted.

However, this one sided conversation continues, and I half listen to a lament about the loss of tradition and values in our country, while his 70 year old drunken friend tells a woman in her late 30’s sitting opposite him to “shut-up” more than six times. I had been overhearing this friend’s wisdoms, among a healthy peppering of profanity and phrases such as ‘just shoot the damn dog’, most of the twenty minutes prior. He had been regaling his group about how to be successfully married for the long term. He had revealed to them he’d been married almost 50 years.…

“Say ‘Yes, dear’ and hand her a fat check…and she’s good to go.”

I doubt the lady seated opposite him was said wife.

My attention comes back to the man in front of me, his card extends out onto my open journal.

“This is my website…I really believe in what we are trying to do and I’d like you to take a look at it and read about some of our efforts..”

“Sure”, I say, distracting him into a brief discussion about teaching in order to open a space to escape without incident.

“You are an intelligent lady. You know, I wanted to be an English major before I got into business and marketing, but I didn’t have a teacher who pushed me in that direction”, he says.

“Perhaps you should explore it now”, I say.

“We need to have people like you to support us”, he continues, making sure to offer a complement or two about how he has always been attracted to redheads.

So noted.

“I’m sure you do.”

The irony of his behavior, his bravado…his need for control in the lack of any real inner sense of personal power made this small stop at Isabella’s for a glass of wine and some writing reflection time a gift.

My phone lights up as he drifts back over to his group. A good friend texts …my friend who has endured a long time abusive narcissist partner and is now free. The irony of it all appears. I have traveled this journey long enough to know.

I am a woman and as such . . .goddess.

And this power within me is the power of the Universe.

As such it is coveted.
Man’s desire is to win it.

Man”s desire is to own it.


It is absolutely MINE.

I text her back. . .

The holy places of the world are plundered by those who seek a precious treasure they might readily find within themselves…thus is man in his domination of the feminine.

The last time I checked, the first amendment comes before the second.

Fuck you buddy and your second amendment smarmy bullshit. You don’t deserve women like me. A woman who is . . .divine.

And the journey goes on.

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