Sometimes fortune brings you want you want!
Arriving at the conference, Kate sat in the third row at the end where she could easily see the speaker. An eminent plastic surgeon who talked about skin grafts, she was engrossed in his material and the discussion afterwards. The speeches were always followed by small seminar discussions and she took her place eagerly around the table.
There were twelve people, all doctors in different fields. Some were plastic surgeons but also some dealing with the area of transsexuality. Building bodies for people who wanted to change their gender was still a sensitive area in medicine. She listened carefully to the views of the professionals there. Some seemed totally against the principal of aiding a person to change their gender and their body shape and appearance. Phrases like, ‘against nature,’ and ‘anti-Christian,’ were thrown across the table.
One woman appeared particularly angered by the bigotry. She said nothing, holding in her anger but her knuckles were almost white as she grasped her water glass. At one point her pen snapped sharply, interrupting the conversation as its end shot across the table, piercing the shirt of the Chair. He detached the offending implement but by this time the woman had left her seat and said stiffly,
‘‘Please excuse me, I need some air.’’
As she passed Kate she stood stock still, her eyes searching Kate’s face. Large horn-rimmed glasses disguised her eyes making them appear beady and smaller than they were and defeminised her slim face. There was no compromise. She appeared not to want to draw attention to her looks in any way. Her severely cut pin stripe pants suit and high collared white shirt presented to the observer a severe mannish appearance. Her hair was cut short in a crew cut.
Kate felt a shiver run down her back as the woman scrutinised her intensely. Then nodding, she turned away and left the room. She did not come back for the rest of the seminar. Kate didn’’t even know her name. She had not filled in the card in front of her as most of the others had done.
Kate was just glad she was gone. Never had she felt such a stark presence, as if she were stripped of her skin and searched for her identity and soul. The woman’s eyes were cold like pebbles, regarding her as if she were a specimen under a microscope. If it had been another century she would have been proclaimed a witch.
The Chair carried on, the atmosphere in the room warming suddenly as a furious argument erupted. The argument continued until the end of the session and then the parties joined in the conference room for the plenary. The next speaker was just as stimulating.
Kate left the conference contented, with much information to give her food for thought. As she left the building she had an eerie feeling she was being watched. She turned around but there was no one there. That creepy woman had unsettled her.
She reached home safely, glad to be inside her cosy apartment with its warm brown ochre tiles, curtains and rugs contrasting with the cream walls. It was years since she had met with such religious bigotry as she had found in that seminar room. They had broadened the discussion to topics like abortion. She had not realised there were so many religious zealots in this area imposing their views on their patients and their medical colleagues. She was lucky. Her work colleagues were largely liberal in social and political complexion, working with horrendous crimes committed against humanity each day.