Part 1 of this story can be found in last week’s post…
Behind Him [Part 2]
She stares unblinking at the man opposite her. It is her husband’s press secretary, immaculate in his dark suit. Why hasn’t he sent a woman?
He smiles. “I guess all this has been pretty hard for you, right? It would be tricky for someone with a political or legal background but-“
“Mister Spicer, if you mean I am an uneducated bimbo and of no consequence you can come out and say it. Everyone else has.”
He leans forward, smile undiminished. “Melania, your husband needs you there. He needs you to take up your role as first lady. You won’t need to do much except attend functions, support charities and stuff. There’s a team to help you. They’ll tell you what to say and what to do. You’d only need to turn up and look nice. It’s just for show.”
Just for show. She looks down at her manicured nails. “Mr Spicer I have a job. It is to look after my son. He is only ten years old.”
When she looks up the secretary’s smile has left his eyes. “I believe your parents are quite involved in caring for your son, Mrs Trump-am I correct?”
She feels hot now, here in this office with its automatic climate control and leans down to take a tissue from her bag, nodding as she dabs at beads of sweat on her brow.
“And they’ve been given an apartment right here, I think, just so as they can look after your son? That was pretty generous of your husband, right? And of course their continued life here in the States will be subject to immigration rules.”
As Melania stares at her lap she feels the tight stricture of the net she has placed around herself tauten, breathing in shallow gulps to steady herself before raising her head and nodding at him.
“We’re prepared to be reasonable, Mrs Trump. We can give you some time to organise things here. Let’s say you’ll move in when your son’s school year finishes this summer. How does that sound?”
She thinks of life here without her parents, without Papa. At least when she moves out of the Towers they’ll still be in the country.
“Yes Mr Spicer. I’ll move in the summer.
“But this is where you should be, Mela, by your husband’s side! Of course you should be at The White House. It’s what I’ve always said, haven’t I Papa?”
Her father says nothing but can see the desolation in her face.
A few months later she begins her schedule, attending a gala as first lady, standing by his side on the stage again. The wearing of the couture outfit suggested by her team, the immaculate hair and make-up cannot disguise the dead look in her eyes or the stiff pose she adopts. Whatever her husband has been saying has come to an end with the applause of the crowd and as he turns to beckon her she takes her obedient step towards his side to raise her hand. He moves closer, half turning. “Smile,” he hisses. “Come on. Remember who you are!”
And of course, she does.