Sometimes I feel like I can conquer the world, with or without my blow-up bra. Maybe I haven’t offended anyone with my honest memoirs or my child-like words—today. Take the woman who said my son would still be alive if I had more faith . . . or the person who tried converting me to Mormonism as my son took his last breaths. I wrote about them and those words were published—every juicy, damn thing. Yeah . . . people were offended—like I was so many years ago. The circle of pain. But I closed the circle, by hurting them too. . . . Does that make it okay?
There are some days when I feel at peace with my choices because I hope my honesty will help someone else. Plus, maybe no one cares that I say the wrong things at the wrong times, or that things come out wrong. And I don’t have to worry about my faults because it’ll be fine—someplace else.
Then there are days like today. . . . When I get yelled at by complete strangers who don’t care that it’s been a long week, or decade. And I only had time to put mascara on one set of lashes before the kids were tugging and pulling, begging me to take them to the store. Most strangers don’t care. Instead I might walk out of the grocery store and some jerk will be cussing because he says I parked too close to his car. The truth is, he’s old and has a patch on his left eye because he got some type of surgery. And even though he weighs more than a scale can count, he blames me since he can’t get into his car. He keeps screaming, calling me a “B” and then switching to the F-word. Truth is though, he can’t see me because of that stupid patch and the fact that I’m jiggling the keys—frantic—on the other side of the car.
So I feel like a pansy and decide to be brave. I go to the other side—that used to be my blind side—and I look that mean man in the face. And he kind of softens like I’m not the type he’d expect. So I stare into his eye—just the one. And I’m not even nervous anymore because he probably has this problem a lot, you know, being overweight and sick. So he has to park close to the entrances—but can never get back into his car after people park.
“I banged your door,” he mumbles. “But it’s your damn fault for parking so close!”
I don’t care anymore that my kids were pulling on my favorite pants—the only pair that cost full price AND don’t have holes. I also don’t care that my head hurts and makeup only lines one eye. I kind of bite my lip and whisper. “It’s okay about my door. It’s just a car. I’m sorry I parked so close.” Even though it wasn’t really all that close at all. “Happy New Year.”
His good eye squints, scrutinizing everything about me.
Then I get into the car and the man crosses his fatty arms as I drive away. But as I look in the rearview mirror, I swear the guy was biting his lip too, feeling bad for being so mean, to a stranger.