The man who joked about me being a cripple apologized today.
I wasn’t expecting an apology, nor did I really care for one. But he felt compelled to give me one.
“I’m really sorry about yesturday.” He said.
“Forget about it,” I replied.
“But I’m really sorry.” He said. “I had no idea.”
“Why should you have had any idea?” I asked him. “It’s not like I wear a sign.”
“If I had known…”
“If you had known you wouldn’t have said that? You wouldn’t have asked me if I was a cripple?”
“Yeah,” he said.
“What difference does it make if you knew or if you didn’t know?” I asked him. He looked baffled and I felt momentarily sorry for him. “Look, thanks for the apology, Okay?”
He nodded and said okay but avoided me for the rest of the day, as if he was no longer sure how to talk to me. Perhaps he was afraid of offending me again.
I’m used to being alone and, after years of being who I am, have grown a thick skin. But I also know that, once again, I’ve lost someone to talk to because they aren’t able to deal with something I have.
Once again, I embrace awkwardness and wear it like a shawl. It follows me everywhere, like a puppy or a small child.
Sometimes I wish the puppy or child would stay home, so I could have one day to myself without feeling like everyone was looking at me.