Monday, November 5, 2007

november five

(in response to november fifth)

I’ve always known I was different. Others suspected as much, but weren’t sure by what comparisons. Was I special in a way that would lead us to further greatness? Or was I different in a way that would result in our eventual demise? They kept me at a distance – close enough to keep an eye on me, but far enough away to protect their vulnerabilities. I did a proper job hiding it, but inevitably the truth would reveal itself.

Chocolate?

No, thank you.

Very rarely was my polite decline a successful evasion tactic.

You don’t need to be polite. Have some chocolate.

No. Thank you.

Go on. Have some chocolate.

All eyes are on me. Trapped. Disclosure is inevitable.

I don’t like chocolate.

My confession takes the air out of the room. Some people stare and others struggle not to make eye contact. I have become the giant purple satin elephant in the room and like most enormous pachyderms inside rooms they don’t belong, this one is not up for discussion. I cough. The awkwardness hangs thick in the room, choking. I cough again. People are quiet, yet I can see in their eyes – frantic. Suddenly everyone is judging themselves, wishing they hadn’t put that last piece in their mouth, wondering who saw them stuff handfuls of the stuff in their pockets – a few for the road. They do to themselves what they imagine me doing. They imagine me as some sort of holier than thou health freak casting judgment on each of their chocolaty discretions. And their resentment is tangible. I know from experience that explanation is futile so I gather my things and leave the mess I have made of their shared experience – the shattered comfort of what was once thought to be universal.

And I start again.

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