Thursday, 5 September 2013
It is probably inevitable that because my house and the nearest grocery store/drug store/coffee shop are within walking distance of the Legislature that I run into people from my former life, both people I worked with at one time or knew as an acquaintance. Some ignore me entirely - purposefully or not - while others are generally friendly and invariably ask how I am doing. It is expected now for some part of these exchanges to include some sizing up - which is likely not unusual knowing how far news about my health situation spread - their eyes summing up my current physical state. It is very much part of a normal human response to be curious when you meet a person like me in the flesh - if you have any idea what I have been dealing with. It fills me with such a nervous, self-conscious feeling - so bad that if I have the energy I'll drive for miles to a drug store where such an encounter is less probable. I know it is silly to feel so undone and of course there are faces I miss and it is not that I am not genuinely happy to see them, but what I am afraid of is the feeling they are seeing something my eyes will not let me see...some visible decay that careful preparation can not hide. It is not that they would say it - but I would know it instinctively from the look in their eyes, the tilt of their heads, the discomfort it might inspire. But I am genuinely trying to push past this knowing we all have our good and bad days...the times we might prefer not to be seen - and to focus on the caring, not the curiosity, that might lie behind the smile - to recall what I appreciated about that person who inhabits a world I used to dwell in in my working life, but where I no longer live.