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The room was full, but the loneliness of her heart reflected in her tightly pursed lips, hands folded on the chest. She was the first speaker for the day.
She sat behind the long-decorated table with soft muslin table cloth and fresh flowers in a ceramic vase, water bottles placed aesthetically in a symmetrical row, a transparent wine goblet on the top of a coaster, the branding of the company staring back from the bottom of the glass, placed intentionally on the top right hand of every member.
The assumption was everyone would be right-handed.
A sea of the crowd in front waited to hear the first words from the eminent speakers she was sharing the dais with, everyone blankly staring at people in front, putting on a fake smile, flickering on and off with the wandering thoughts in her mind.
Anything she needed was just a gesture away, regally dressed waiters keeping a sharp eye for anything the royalty might need, while the ordinary subjects jostle around to find an appropriate seat to listen to the golden words, to be spoken only once.
‘How could such a lowly journalist blackmail me with those photographs’
The thought continued to recur in her troubled mind, forcing to abandon the smile for a smirk before repeated public announcements made her realize of being seated amongst a crowd requiring to put on her public persona, one of fake affability and emotional attunement.
‘That’s an invasion of privacy, let him do it, and I will file a defamation case claiming damages, her entire newspaper won’t be able to afford.’
‘But what about my reputation, that would be gone.’
A confident posture stooped into a light hunch as the new thought now entered her fragile mind.
‘Let me use Prime Minister Office’s influence; it’s the right time to test if the man can return the favour.’
‘But I spoke against his party just last week after the opposition agreed to fund my NGO working for poor immigrants and children of colour people, ‘
‘I don’t want anyone to look through those accounts’
Her mind continued vacillating, unable to stay on one thought.
‘It delights us to have Mrs Springle amongst us today’.
‘A leading authority in the fight against domestic violence and a proponent of equality who also led various protests against racism and attacks on immigrants.’
‘Mrs. Springle, Ladies and Gentleman!’, the emcee announced.
‘What if I get this Somalian (her domestic help) deported, her visa is up for renewal, and the photograph isn’t that clear, at least she will be gone, and I can then deal with this bloody scribe and his newspaper later.’
A triumphant smile suddenly occupied her face as she strolled towards the podium, her royal demeanour brimming with grace and royalty.
‘We need to change ourselves, to see a change in the people inhabiting this world’ she began with thunderous applause.
Her Somalian help was cheering the speech in front of her TV, unaware of what’s going through Mrs Springle’s mind.