Making excuses for XY: A short story

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Elaine Chung/Staff

I sometimes subscribe to the idea of light and dark entities, as some happenings in my life can be explained only by dark influences. As a result, I greatly desire to bend the rules of this three-dimensional reality. Like many of my kind, I am imparted some degree of disadvantage and am subject to the ravaging eyes of those who wish to fit me into a mold that bears no indication of my true being.

So in terms of superpowers, I desire an escape from the judgement inherent in those eyes. The type of judgment that allows individuals to jump to conclusions about how I perceive this world and how I choose to go about living in it.

I imagine that invisibility would serve my purposes best. That way, I could escape the throes of ignorance, unwanted attention and irritating interactions. Yes, invisibility would have provided me with a solution to a problem that threatened to topple my sense of security.

My experiences with a piece of shit this past April led me to believe some dark entity had attached itself to this individual. The entity probably sucked this person dry of any sense of reason and encouraged incredibly irrational plans of action, at the expense of my well-being. Had an invisibility cloak been present, I could have avoided such a problem.

In another universe unconstrained by three-dimensional limitations, I dealt with the problem in a quick and timely manner. I employed my powers of invisibility to transport myself to places without being stalked by dark entities. My absence alone would have decreased the individual’s inclinations toward staring, sniffling, flipping newspaper pages as obnoxiously as possible, among other tactics employed by middle schoolers to get my attention. Mind you, this particular individual is a middle-aged man.

My experiences with a piece of shit this past April led me to believe some dark entity had attached itself to this individual … Mind you, this particular individual is a middle-aged man.

In this other universe, this piece of shit takes the shape of an overbearing entity who has made some dangerous assumptions about my person. His thoughts are reminiscent of those similar to him, who believe I enjoy the attention and bases my self-worth off of such interactions. This entity likes to stare at those who fall prey to his gaze, and when it desires more of a reaction, takes to sniffling, flipping newspaper pages as obnoxiously as possible and other immature tactics. It does not seek to engage in any interaction other than staring, as it enjoys the amount of control it can leverage on the mental health of those similar to me.

The dark entity attached to this individual has given him a surge of confidence, and now, the piece of shit takes to smiling at me. His inclinations toward assholery have also gone up, as he purposely takes shorter steps to increase the amount of time he spends in my line of sight.

I’m sitting at the front desk, miserably studying for a midterm, going through a pseudo-existential crisis and make a face of intense repulsion at his efforts. I don’t understand how these entities understand accidental eye contact to be the ultimate declaration of “I want you,” but the inner workings of the human brain escape me, especially of those who hail from a number of generations above me. I shudder at the thought that he believes himself to be an eligible bachelor for those in my age range and in a fit of disgust and anger, I leave the front desk.

I stupidly hope I can “ice him out.” A part of me believes I am too sensitive, that I am having too pronounced of a reaction to an entity who may just be going about his day.

I don’t understand how these entities understand accidental eye contact to be the ultimate declaration of “I want you,” but the inner workings of the human brain escape me, especially of those who hail from a number of generations above me.

But my intuition informs me that he desires much more than I am inclined to give (aka nothing), and feelings of revulsion once again consume my physical form.

The part of me accustomed to social conditioning tells me he is somewhat brave for putting his feelings on display. Granted, this display is at the expense of my well-being, but when have people (including myself) regarded our opinions relevant, our feelings pertinent? I am slightly aware that I am making excuses for this sack of shit, but old habits die hard, especially remnants of those picked up from generations before me. And unfortunately for me, “icing” him out doesn’t work.

Days pass. Weeks pass. He continues to stare. My better judgment finally tells me that something is not right. At this point, the piece of shit either lacks the social acumen to realize I despise his very existence or has gone too far down a road that would jeopardize both mine and his well-being.

My feelings of frustration evolve into fear as I try to rationalize how individuals can go about this behavior with such persistence. Mind you, I haven’t spoken a word to this sack of shit, and he probably doesn’t even know my name. From where he derives the stamina and confidence to keep staring at me, I do not know. Over the next three months, I realize I do not want to know.

Circa this past July, I’ve finally decided that I’ve had enough, and I ask my supervisors to call security.

Days pass. Weeks pass. He continues to stare. My better judgment finally tells me that something is not right.

Two incredibly buff individuals begin to circle shelves and shelves of books as they stare this sack of shit down. The sniffles suddenly disappear and no more smiles. As my shift ends, I hope this encounter has scared the man into oblivion. All is well, right?

A panic attack ensues. I wonder if I have agitated him too much, and my mind jumps to the all-too-common occurrence of men lashing out violently at women who do not return their affections. I can’t feel anything for a split second, and my hands proceed to shake uncontrollably as my chest folds inward and an impending sense of doom gradually permeates my being. This void defies time, and a mere two minutes in this state feels like a millenium.

I tell myself I’m blowing things out of proportion, as my situation is merely the tip of a very fucked-up iceberg. I tell myself I’m overreacting; the asshat hasn’t even approached me with any sort of threat; I’ll be fine. I wonder if human hearts can burst out of the physical form  for pounding so quickly but stop overreacting whatever he just thinks you’re attractive gosh why are you so fucking paranoid?!

A panic attack ensues. I wonder if I have agitated him too much, and my mind jumps to the all-too-common occurrence of men lashing out violently at women who do not return their affections.

My phone goes off, and thankfully, it’s my sister. All walls come crashing down. I am particularly practiced in the art of silent weeping, but I cannot stifle the cacophonous melody so artfully composed by my nose and throat. I tell my sister I’m probably overreacting and being paranoid. She thankfully disagrees with me and asks if steps can be taken to stop his uncomfortable behavior.

Lucky for me, as much as he is a sack of shit, he possesses some level of intelligence and has never formally approached me. As long as he never approaches me, I cannot do anything.

It’s amusing how my sister doesn’t consider quitting an option. Unfortunately, I need this job.

The inharmonious sounds generated by the interplay of nose and throat cease in time for me to walk into discussion and have no one suspect anything. The world, in some way, shape or form, continues to spin madly on.

I imagine invisibility to be a great gift to those who can achieve it. To weave in and out of crowds who have  no indication of your presence, to avoid those who go about pursuit in uncomfortable ways, I imagine that would be great. The laws of this world impart me with no such ability, however, and I curse the order of things in this world.

Matters of practicality trump healthy states of being. I stay at the job for another two months, coordinating implicit plans of action with my supervisors to decrease the amount of time spent in this man’s presence. Unfortunately for me, obstacles were made to be conquered, and the sack of shit tries his hand at guessing my new shift hours. The day he manages to get it right, I’m so fucking done, and I quit. Lucky for me, after managing to escape the throes of unwanted attention, I fall directly into the clutches of financial instability.

I am bothered by one particular tendency of mine. The tendency exists in different degrees in those who hail from walks of life similar to mine. Akin to the illogical decisions made when a new Rick and Morty episode comes out (i.e. I probably should be studying), irrational tendencies cannot easily be eradicated. I impart a great deal of admiration to those who can rid of all traces of it.

I imagine invisibility to be a great gift to those who can achieve it. To weave in and out of crowds who have  no indication of your presence, to avoid those who go about pursuit in uncomfortable ways, I imagine that would be great.

I should not seek to escape. I should not seek invisibility. I should hold these pieces of shit accountable, but somehow I am inclined to do otherwise. That begs the question …

Why do I keep making excuses for them?

Contact Ru-Ping Chen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @roxychen_56.