I wonder if that young boy who wrote the words “you’re pretty” onto my face with his breath knew it was akin to a permanent ink. So close to me he stood, I checked my pockets straight afterwards to ensure I still had my wallet. I’m told, by society, by friends influenced by society, by culture, by history, by T.V., by books, that this was just a compliment. I’m told he meant to make me feel good. I’m told he was just being nice.
I didn’t turn around and follow his gaze to catch him with his x-ray vision called imagination staring at my behind. It’s been argued that I’m arrogant for assuming he would. How immodest, how un-lady-like of me!
But after the first twenty times, playing nothing often seems the only option.
To look and grimace is often the knock that invites me into anger; nasty comments I apparently encourage; and most frequently I’m given a smirk a nod that reads “mission accomplished.” A statement I would not dare! To say anything of the discomfort he’s engrossed upon me is sure to end nothing and start something.
I hadn’t noticed him. I was dodging my way through the sidewalk traffic. Head up. Focused. My mind jumping from my to-do list, to the quickest path around the human body labyrinth to the store entrance. How many minutes do I have left before my next appointment? Vancouver Januarys only require a warm coat, and today’s sunshine freed my neck from its woolly winter scarf. Still, the shadows cast from the downtown high-rise architecture caused me to cross my arms and pull my shoulders to my earlobes.
A brick from that labyrinth moved nearer. At first you think the best—he’s avoiding a person walking behind me, or to the side of me. But he side steps closer, and again closer, and within a second his nose is in my hair and his words are there. His body turns and pivots and he throws his head backwards to avoid knocking the brim of his hat on my shoulder. He’s a short cunt.
I’m told he meant to make me feel good. I’m told he was just being nice.
Then why do I feel his slime still oozing from my pours. His breath sits there on my skin, hours later; long enough that I’m compelled to sit down and write this.
What amount of time is required to full cleanse something so seemingly small?!
And why do I feel violated, not complimented? Why do I feel like he tried to rob some small amount of power from my gait as he strolled by? Why do I constantly feel that no reaction is the only appropriate reaction?
Why will society continue to tell me I shouldn’t have worn skinny jeans and a leather jacket, or bothered to curl my hair?
More so, why do I still care?