Continued from Back on the Scene…
Upon returning from my morning of sleuthing with my Mom and my bodyguard, Eddie, I hopped in the shower because Lord knows it was hot as all get out. Humid too. And I was pretty sure I stunk (a recurring theme that day).
I got dressed in my ‘court’ clothes: black slacks, a silk gray sleeveless blouse, and a black cardigan. Black and gray are stalwarts of any self-respecting NYC woman’s wardrobe, and for me, those colors are my mental armor..my power colors. My attorneys never advised me what to wear and I thought about it OVER and OVER for days leading up to the visit. I didn’t wear a dress or skirt in fear that would offend the Prosecutor. A suit would have melted me on the spot. This was the best I could come up with.
I met my attorney in the hotel lobby and we went over the main points I needed to make in an effort to focus me:
- Marco’s behavior and aggression was unwelcome
- At no point did I offer, solicit, discuss or innuendo to him that I wanted to have sex with him
- I was not drunk or high on drugs at any point
- I was detained against my will
- I was physically harmed
- I feared for my safety and life
During this time, I learned that my attorney would not be present in the room with me and the judge for my questioning. He’d be sitting out in the hall with my parents and Eddie. I considered it a small hand grenade to my resolve, lobbed in when I was already plenty nervous. But I reminded myself the Prosecutor was representing my interests and serving as champion for my cause, and if worst came to worst, I could go running out into the hallway to my Mommy and Daddy. And my beloved Eddie.
By mid-afternoon, my parents, attorney and the omnipresent Eddie, stepped out into the sweltering heat and hailed a cab to the Roman Courthouse. My understanding was the courts would close at 2:30 p.m., and the judge would be interviewing me in her chambers afterhours. Well, there is just nothing like entering a huge, empty building, with the lights off and bad 70s decor to set the tone for an interview about your sexual assault case. Did I mention there was no air conditioning? I began perspiring in my spiffy interview outfit.
We found our way to the upper floors and outside of the Prosecutor’s office where we were told to wait. My nerves were in full swing with my stomach turning on itself, a hot cauldron of acid. I lasted about 5 minutes before announcing I needed to find a restroom. My great search began. Apparently, having a women’s restroom within 1000 yards of the men’s room, is not a code requirement in Rome. I went far. Like, down the hall, around a corner and down a dark hall far before finding a lone custodian, mopping the floors. He directed me further and opened a door to a restroom reserved strictly for judges. He nodded politely, and walked away.
Once inside, I looked at myself in the mirror above the sink and realized my eyeliner was threatening migration to my cheeks and my forehead was glistening. The long walk had not helped my cause. I set about putting soap and water on my face, taking care of other matters and smoothing my shirt and slacks. I concluded by giving myself a pep talk and saying a prayer: “Keri, you’ve got this. You so, so have got this! God help me please. Help me keep my composure.” I smiled at myself in the mirror, and turned toward the door. I reached for the knob and turned it. Nothing. I turned it again, and nothing still.
I, Keri Potts, had locked myself in the bathroom of the Roman Courthouse, down a long, dark and empty hallway, far away from my entourage.