The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I walked into Panara, looking for a short woman with curly, red hair. To my surprise, I had to look up to find her waving at me from the balcony on the second floor. From the day Pam applied to Law school, all of her efforts had been geared towards representing victim of domestic abuse. On this day, she realized her dream was not what she wanted.

“I don’t want to press charges anymore,” her client announced, holding her small child against her battered chest, trying to hide the fresh bruises.

“Do you understand that if you drop the charges, he walks free?” Pam clarified, looking at the child with hopelessness.

“I do. I’m sorry,” she replied shamefully. 

The door closed. Pam sat motionless at her desk, defeated. Her heart ached for all the victims she promised to help, but her whole body tensed with frustration. Over the course of fifteen years, she had proved herself in a grueling internship, subsequently landed her dream job with the purpose of helping abuse victims, and then lost faith in the same people she wanted to help.

With tears burning behind her eyes, she made her decision. 

For the rest of the day, she packed and repacked her entire office. Agonizing over the placement of each file and every pen, Pam never stopped debating her choices which made the process take far longer than it should have. She was too ashamed to ask for help. What kind of person turns their back on those so vulnerable? 

Consumed by her thoughts, she didn’t hear the knock at her door, nor did she notice her boss step in. She only jolted back to the present when he placed a hand on her shoulder.

“Pam,” he sighed, “you’re one of the best lawyers I’ve got. What are you doing?” 

Unable to hold them back any longer, she let her tears go. “Why should I continue trying to protect people who don’t want to be protected?” Pam explained choking back sobs. “I want to make a difference, but I can’t take another day of this,”.

He waited for her to calm down before proposing another position. As soon as he said it, Pam realized she didn’t have to look far to help the innocent. This time, her clients wouldn’t be able to rescind their charges. He dropped her first new case onto her empty desk before leaving her with the file. She scanned the top which read: Sparky, Golden Retriever: Left outside, chained for two weeks as family went on vacation. Brought in by neighbor.  

This she could do.

Quitting Dream Job

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1985
Manhattan, NY

I walked into Panara, looking for a short woman with curly, red hair. To my surprise, I had to look up to find her waving at me from the balcony on the second floor. From the day Pam applied to Law school, all of her efforts had been geared towards representing victim of domestic abuse. On this day, she realized her dream was not what she wanted.

Tags: job, Lawyer
Decade: 1980s
Rating:
Recorded by Svetlana Pauley on March 10, 2020
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