With no sense of self-preservation, I approached the bride and groom standing outside their house in the twilight. “I’m just a tipsy stranger on the street, but I was wondering if I could read you something to celebrate your wedding day.” Right away, I knew it was bad. When strangers approached me on my wedding day—several did—I was charmed. I made the foolish assumption that these two people I didn’t know would have the same sentiment about these things. But they were simply two harsh, ugly people in fancy clothes, who brushed me off, mocked me, and ‘what-the-fucked’ at one another as I walked away.
I was shaking. It was my own fault for imposing myself on their day. It would’ve been a long, taxing one, and the last thing they were interested in was some decidedly naïve wingnut soliloquising them when they could be off fucking somewhere.
I approached, was rebuffed, and tried to rationalise with myself about it. It upset me more than it should have. I fought to keep from crying, and felt humiliated and angry. Was it my fault, or was it theirs, or somewhere in-between?
earlier that same day...
The little girl (about 7 or so) arrived at the intersection of two footpaths ahead of her parents. Though there was no sun, she pointedly shaded her eyes and tracked my approach. As usual, all I could think was how I was setting such a bad example by smoking. I started to pass her. Eyes still shaded, she tilted her head up to look up—waaaay up—at me, and declaimed, “HI!!” I responded in kind as her parents laughed in half-surprise, half-indulgence. As I carried on, buoyed by the happy laughter at my back, I bemusedly tried to recall if I’d ever been that confident as a child.