When I went to court, I didn't know where to park. I chose a spot at the public library, figuring I was on home turf there. I had 3 quarters, which bought me 45 minutes, obviously not enough time. I put them in, looked one more time for quarters, and walked away, checking each meter on the way, to see if any were expired, and each time I saw a red flag in the window, I felt slightly more confident that it would be okay.
I walked into the courthouse and placed my bag and the contents of my pockets in the metal detector basket and walked through the gateway. I beeped, and the guard told me to open my jacket, and I started to remove it. He stopped me and repeated, "just open it" and I mumbled something about having flown before, which I instantly realized was a stupid thing to say. He said "What's that?" coarsely, and I repeated it, blushing and wishing I could keep my damn mouth shut for a moment of my damn life. He let me through.
I waited, pretending to read while I scoped out the people in the courthouse waiting area. Lots of lawyers, most of them good looking, and I checked their ring fingers, because fate might have brought me to that courthouse, you know. I saw an awkward attorney hit on an attractive law clerk, who barely seemed to notice that he was totally into her. She smiled at me and I smiled back, thinking "I could be you, too. We all make dumb mistakes."
Then the lawyer came, and the law things happened. There was a lot of walking around, checking in here, checking in there. Watching my husband remove his boots and wondering why he did that, hoping he didn't pick today to have a knife in his pocket like the day we got on the plane to get married. Feeling mad and sad and sorry. And then we left, and I walked back to the library.
I walked up, and the meter guy was looking at my car, pen on the ticket form. I shuffled up, saying, "That's me, sorry, sorry. Am I too late?" He laughed, and said "yeah"- sarcastically, like I was stupid for asking. I stammered, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I had to go to court and I didn't know where to park..." and he looked up, and looked me over in my little blue court dress and my matronly nude hose and put his pen down. "It's okay. Just go." and I thanked him, and I left.