I'm coming out of a bad week like a boxer maimed in a fight. I fought my lingering cough (the one that woke me up from my sleep all week), I defended myself for everything, simple statements like "The sky is blue" came with an argument. Is that what life is? Telling your side of the story till you're tired?
With Alistair away on business I used my evenings this week to watch trash TV and Instagram stories. The toilet was broken, the oven still smoking despite cleaning it four times. The neighbors shuffled in their rooms every time I coughed. Nothing worse than feeling like a diseased vampire when you're well.
On Friday I'd had enough. After work I went straight to Williamsburg to check out a sale on my way back, I walked down the stairs to the L train, a woman blocking my path at one point. I tried to go around her, but every step she took was in my direction. I finally squeezed past her, and she angrily pushed me hard with her hand. I was steady enough not to fall down the stairs.
"Sorry," I said flatly over my shoulder and kept going without looking back. I didn't even see her face, or try to. On the platform I kept my eyes on the arriving train for fear she'd follow me and try to fight. I've seen it happen before.
I sat down on the L and she wasn't on my car. I could only look at the ceiling and shake my head. "This is exactly how I've felt all week," I said to myself.
I was wearing a sleeveless shirt and the warmth of the woman's hand on my arm still felt present. I ran through my past ten years in my memory. I've only had a similar experience once on my twenty-sixth birthday. A woman pushed me down in a Zara just for walking by her while she had a disagreement with the staff. When I stood up, after being pushed so hard I was laying flat on my back, I decided to leave. On my walk back through the store. All the store workers were looking at me, whispering, "That's the girl that got pushed," and a bystander tapped me on the shoulder, "Are you OK?" I said I was. I walked to the corner of 59th and Lexington and cried.
You can only have so many of those instances before you snap. I'm a doormat. I always tell people I want to be "assertive." But I've realized that I'd like to be aggressive.
I got home near 8 pm, ordered sushi and watched television. Today the temperature reached 90-something. Shades drawn, AC off, I sat in the cave of my own making.