On the opening day of testimony, Eva arrived at the courthouse dressed in a white trench coat; it was only buttoned halfway. The undone silvery buttons reflected every ounce of light as she stepped out of the car—underneath was a white pearled silk blouse.    This wasn’t what made the papers though.

I was one of those photographers who rushed towards her frenetically. All of us were dressed in frumpy coats, with pockets bulging of extra flashbulbs and film. Our battered russet Fedoras were pushed back on our heads so that the brims wouldn’t get in the way of the big cameras.  Flashbulbs were popping indiscriminately, embowering her in heartbeats of bright light. You would have thought she was a celebutante.   Like a mischief we scurried hurriedly on the scent of her. Hazel eyes replaced the pupils of every Tom, Dick and Harry…money, rigmarole such as this would certainly pay handsomely.

I forgot to take pictures along the way— I had no more use for orthochromatic film and darkrooms illuminated with red light. History was happening in front of me.   Onlookers waited in the hallway behind perse velvet ropes hoping to land a seat in the courtroom. Visibly open-mouthed, they stood eyes fixated, in their midi length bias-cut dresses.

Eva winked and blew kisses as she passed by.   She entered the courtroom to testify as a witness to a home invasion. She was once more flayed by the judge for wearing what her blouse was controversially tucked into. It was the slacks, they were the whitest of white. She was flagrantly disobeying the judge’s orders once more.   The soberest of faces washed over Honorable Malcolm Rowe. “You were told twice to put on a dress next time you entered this courtroom…”   The brown hardwood gavel hit the sound block.   Found in contempt.   She chose to smile because equality wouldn’t be reached without a bit of drama.   This potboiler sold a record number of scandal sheets the next day… A win for womankind, just as she had hoped.

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

As always a very well written piece of writing with an impressive vocabulary, Melissa. I wondered what went on in this court and searched for information. It seems as though the dress code for people in court in Canada is very strict, even for witnesses. Just out of curiosity, I searched for information about the same thing in Sweden and found out that there is no dress code at all for witnesses. Is this something that actually is happening in your country, something that protesting are protesting about and the press is reporting?

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
11 months ago

Like Christer, I was also curious about the story at first, Melissa. But your reply to his comments make me appreciate more the story and I appreciate your protagonist too. I love her fighting spirit of equal treatment. Thanks to this woman and now I can wear pants and slacks without any violations. And thank you also for sharing this such lovely story for us. Well done. 

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Melissa Taggart
11 months ago

Very well said, Melissa. ???? Merry Christmas ????

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Fuji
Fuji(@fuji)
11 months ago

I love this story, Melissa. Women like that were so courageous, and helped us modern women achieve so much. You made the scene come to life. Great writing!

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