As she walked in the cold morning air, her body facing the sun and the four men approached, she realized he was among them. She panicked wondering why they were running into each other daily like this. She did not want to hate him, human conditions are far too complex to boil down to one against the other. There’s always some accountability. She simply wanted the peace of a clean slate. To erase all they ways they both had hurt her. To erase how violated, uncared for, and little he had made her feel. Not seeing him would allow her to regain her human significance, to find the whisper of her hearts voice again. In a magical world, he would apologize, he would ask, and at the very least, be surprised that he had not felt from the tips of of her own shoes. He would be deeply sorry, for his breaking and entering, for having blurred the lines of her private life that was so important to her. He would say to her that he did not stop to think what it would be like for her. He would remember how she had been on his side, wanting to see him achieve his goals, how she had put herself on the line for him, because she knew what it was like to be in his shoes, trapped. He would see that her intentions really were to create a friendship as she valued the life experienced he had and the trials he was overcoming. He would be deeply, deeply sorry. He would want to set it right.
She remembered the man who was determined to be a better man, the man who, at least, tried to care. She respected him. She wondered why he left. But then again, caring, and not wanting to be responsible for people’s hurts are two very different intentions.
All this flashed before her in the moments the group grew closer to her. There was nowhere for her to go. She did not have time to reach for her shades, which she normally wore. Her hands reached up to grip her warm, cosy scarf, for comfort, the way a scared child clings to its blankie. It was all she could do to feel safe against the venom she felt spewing from his heart to her. It made her feel so uneasy, afraid of how twisted things can get. It made no sense, he had insisted that night, she had dodged him, not knowing how to respond, not wanting to hurt him or create drama. He obviously hadn’t cared about the impact on her day to day life, or how she felt, or recovered the next day. He never checked in. She had been ill for 4 days straight, unable to eat until Wednesday afternoon, for how much her body had suffered. It made no sense that he spewed venom towards her as if she was a thing to hate. It made no sense that a woman should be disrespected when she walks with some self respect.
His disposition was made clear by the door that he let close behind him, against her face. She was not even deserving of manners. It hurt, and truly angered her for the first time since that night.
When she finally exited the subway that evening, after another day of fear inhabiting her body, the tears flowed down her cheeks, wet and cold against the early spring wind. She wasn’t even sure that love could fix this, they way it had balmed so many other hurts in her life. She’d trusted love in the darkest moments – but this, this was beyond love. She’d reached out in the spirit of peace, why would love give mercy now?
Was it even worth trying?