It was my last day of work before moving out of state and making a fresh start in my favorite city. It was a Saturday and the credit union branch where I worked was packed. The queue line was full and members were lined up out the door. It was so long, members told me they stood in line for 45 minutes before getting to a teller window! There was a teller in every window and no one could even think about breaks. Every so often, while waiting for my next member to walk down to my window, I’d scan the line to see if it was getting smaller. I remember spotting a man in line wearing sunglasses and thinking that odd. Sometimes we don’t remove our sunglasses if were running in and out quickly, but with this line, he’d be inside for quite awhile. I quickly forgot about him once my member arrived.
I scanned the line again, at least a half an hour later, and sunglasses man was in the middle of the front queue line. Oh, well, maybe he’d just been to the eye doctor. After serving a couple more members, I rang my bell and straightened receipts in my drawer while waiting for the next to arrive. I saw the hand slide a check and deposit slip across my counter first and then glanced up to see the member – sunglasses man. I smiled and quickly looked back at his deposit slip to enter the account number into my computer. I hadn’t even glanced at the name on the slip. While I typed I said, “I appreciate your patience with the long line,” and he replied, “That’s OK…Jessica.” The way he said my name, so purposeful, like he already knew it instead of reading it off of my name plate, made me look back up at him. While I stared quizzically at him, he reached up and removed his sunglasses. It was him. It was the guy who’d raped me 5 years earlier. Five years to the month, to be exact.
I’d always assumed we both lived in the Washington, DC area, because his family is here, and had wondered several times over the previous 5 years how I’d react if I ran into him. Scream in fright? Slap him in anger? Pretend I didn’t know him? Be warm and friendly, showing him I survived and I’m fine? I’d played all these scenarios out in my head before but none of them had seemed right. I just never wanted to find out.
According to the address on his deposit slip, there were several branches of this credit union close to his house so it was odd for him to travel all the way to mine. On my last day of work. On my last day in that state. And to end up at my teller window instead of one of the other 9 windows. I honestly believe God brought him to that exact spot, so I could fully receive closure before I started my new life. God helped me shut a door for good and I am so grateful.
This is going to sound strange, but all of a sudden, I stepped outside of myself and hovered behind my body. I watched, from back there, the exchange that took place between him and me. And the me that spoke with him while processing his transaction was calm and friendly, yet business-like. I could feel her breathing and heart rate and neither one, to my surprise, was elevated.
Me: Hello, *John.
(I looked back down at the deposit and started to process it.)
John: That’s my wife’s check. Let me introduce you to her. (I was unable to see her standing next to him because my window opening was narrow. She leaned over and smiled at me.) This is my wife, *Jane. *Jane, this is Jessica. She…and *Sue (his sister’s name) went to school together.
Me: It’s nice to meet you. (Back to processing deposit.)
John: So. A teller. Is this what you’ve been doing since you graduated from college?
Me: I also own a catering business. However, today’s my last day for both jobs. I’m moving out of state and have decided to drop catering since I work when everyone else is off.
John: That’s right! (Says to his wife) Jessica makes the best chocolate chip cookies.
Me: Here’s your receipt. Is there anything else I can help you with?
John: Yes, can you check and make sure my paycheck went in?
Me: There was a direct deposit made last night for (read him the amount). Is that your paycheck?
John: Did it come from *She-She-Poo-Poo-Big-Important-Compant-in-the-DC-area?
(His wife gave him a strange look when asked that question.)
Me: It doesn’t say where the deposit came from, it’s just coded as a direct deposit. (And in my head I added sarcastically, “And I’m sure you already know where you work, dumbass. Hey, he’s trying to impress me with the name of his employer. He put down my little teller job. This guy is trying to make himself feel better than me.” I felt pity for him.) Anything else I can do?
John: Nope. That’s it. Good luck where you’re going and don’t stop making those cookies. (He winked.)
My body did not hit the light button to alert the next member in line I was ready. It put my copy of his receipt in my drawer and locked it. It also locked my money drawer and logged off my computer. It turned my name plate around so that “Next Teller Please” was facing out instead of my name. It put my key ring around my wrist, turned around and headed towards the door that lead to the back office. I followed. I walked through the door behind my body and there were only 2 people back there – the head teller and the branch manager. The head teller looked up and asked, “What do you need?” After the door had closed behind us, my body replied, calmly, “I just waited on my rapist.” I was immediately jerked back into my body and then fainted on the floor.
The next thing I remember, I was sitting in a chair with a paper cup of water in my hand. One of the loan counselors was getting a cash drawer to replace me on the line and asking the head teller what was wrong with me. After she went out on the line, the branch manager told me she’d called my parents and they were on their way. I didn’t feel anything, but I thought, “That’s too bad. They’d been through enough during the 2 years after. They don’t need to relive this.” Sometime later, another counselor came in the back and said that my parents had arrived. The manager walked me out to them. My mom blurted out, “It was John, wasn’t it?” And my dad said, “Let’s get you to the car.”
I never cried. I was in awe. I did it. I came face-to-face with him and it wasn’t like anything I’d imagined. I was calm. He was nervous, when our eyes met, probably worried what I’d do or say, especially in front of his wife. But he tried to make me feel small; tried to make himself feel above me. How sad. I felt sad for him. He must not like himself very much to have to use a teller to feel better about himself. I laughed. My parents probably thought I’d cracked! LOL This weight, that I didn’t even know was still there, lifted off of me. For good.
“Now, my child, you are ready to begin,” God said.