I’ve decided not to tell you what my character and emotion are. Instead, see if you can figure it out as you read. I’ll say what they are at the bottom of the post.
I stand and run my hands over my suit jacket, smoothing it and checking for lint. I need to look my best for my first public appearance as senator.
“Sir? Are you ready?” Ray, my campaign manager, holds his arm out towards the open door. A wide smile covers his face. This is as much his victory as mine.
I nod and take a reassuring breath. “You bet. Let’s do it.”
Ray lets me walk past him and follows me under the grand dome. We head for the doors, to the front steps, where my supporters and at least three news crews wait for me.
The bright sun hits my face as I open the door, and I step towards the podium set at the top of the stairs. I scan the sea of faces, all hopeful and eagerly awaiting my words.
“Sir, what is your response to allegations that you accepted bribes during the drafts of the Miller-Walsh bill?”
A reporter sits on the other side of the wide table, but I can hardly see him with the lights shining in my face. Ray’s silhouette is behind him, standing tall with his arms crossed, like a disappointed father.
I blink and consider the question. Bribes? “They weren’t bribes. I have documentation they were legal campaign contributions.” That was the script I’d memorized.
The reporter picks up a stack of papers. “I have evidence that in the three years since your first election, your campaign has received nearly fifty thousand dollars in illegal transactions…”
Dad. It’s Molly.
Dread fills my gut, and I swallow the lump in my throat. I look at the teleprompter set near the camera. The cameraman counts down, showing the final numbers with his fingers. The red light appears.
“Good evening.” Another swallow. “Three years ago, and again last year, you elected me senator of our fine state. In that time, I made some poor judgement calls. Tempting offers were made, and I did not say no.”
Someone shakes my shoulder, and my daughter appears before me. The room fills in behind her – the sterile walls, the beige curtains, the hospital bed.
I swallow the lump again. The discomfort refuses to leave my gut. “I shouldn’t have done it.”
“I know. Come on, let’s get you into bed.” She wraps her arms around me and helps me out of the chair.
“How could I?”
She looks into my eyes. “It was twenty years ago. Remember? I was a little girl.”
I touch her hair. “Yeah. You had braids.”
“That’s right.” She leads me to the bed, and I sit on it. “It was a long time ago. You made a mistake. But it’s time to let go.”
Her words echo in my mind. “Have you said that before?”
“Dozens of times.” She kisses me on the forehead. “I’ll get you some water.”
I nod, and another familiar voice echoes in my mind.
Sir? Are you ready?
This was the character description: A dishonest 52-year-old man, who comes from a comfortable background, lives in a fantasy world and tends to have difficulty saying no.
And the emotion: remorse.
How’d you do?