I swear, some people just smack you down because they can. I shake my head and wonder if it felt good enough that they’ll keep at it. Will they wait for the next innocent fella to stroll into the dialogue, then slap their hands — hush their mouths?
I shrugged it off when it happened yesterday. I had sort of expected it. I had hesitated in the first place, tip-toeing into an arena where my welcome stood far from certain. A mixed bag: Smiles here, hugs there, the scornful look followed by the inevitable squelch. I tried to take it with grace. I cringed only inwardly, letting the small-minded have the moment. Sarcasm rolled from my shoulders. I unfurled my invisible ermine cape and straightened my crown. I held my head as regally as I could and then, because that posture has never felt right, I burrowed into my soul and drew the cloak of kindness from its cupboard.
I walked away wrapped in the warm certainty that I would live to smile another day.
It’s tempting to wax bitter. I acknowledge having an advance hint that these persons would resent my presence. Our discord does not stem from the correctness of my energy nor the invalidity of theirs. We take different positions on critical values. My right juxtaposes with their might; my yin clashes with their yang. But for a scant hour, I came within the broken circle. I smiled; they grimaced. The exposed throat met the gnarled grip.
I left without complaint, knowing that only I would take some deeper meaning from the nastiness of their condemnation. I cannot say that I took the high road, but at least I solidly trudged the sane and safe middle-ground. I let them think they’d won. I did not raise my hand, though neither did I hang my head.
It’s the sixteenth day of the forty-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.