Sometimes it’s stealthy, insidious, a thief in the dead of night. But not always. Sometimes it’s a seemingly polite, yet – let’s face it – gritty and downright disgusting battle. It’s turning your head away, grimacing, holding your breath and attempting to protect something, anything that is generally and rightfully understood as yours. It’s nuanced kindnesses that are forced into the space of ugly, strong statements. It’s giving, as you’ve been trained to do, and simultaneously restraining, struggling, inwardly gasping and gulping for your own air, pushing her out and helplessly feeling her pour back in like a flood.
It’s the long drive home with the windows down, music promisingly loud yet mocking, meaningless, the cool air lashing at your arms and cheeks like a punishment. It’s washing, scrubbing, scouring away the traces of her but still reeking of her sweet perfume. It’s even wishing you could retch to cleanse yourself from the inside. (Kind of.)
It’s gratitude for one thing, and one thing only: that at least you can write about it. It’s wishing you could skip past the discomfort to your default defense mechanism, humor, as you discover and appreciate the thousand points of irony.
She’s everywhere, and she saw to that the instant she laid her dark eyes upon you. And you knew all about her, and you prepared yourself to the best of your current ability, and you remained professional and professionally assertive at all times, but she still overpowered you.
You didn’t have a chance, did you. You still haven’t completely transformed that part of you that people like her relish in toying with. Some small victories were noted, but overall you conceded defeat. This time.