it is our eagerness to please
the unwillingness to escape these walls
that society uses to lock us in
an abyss of stringent protocol
It took me an hour to get everything done, and the moment I stopped moving was the moment I realized that my clothes were soaked through with my sweat. I felt as though I had taken a shower without taking anything off. Having switched the heaters off early on, it made sense now that I was aware of the state I was in that I was shivering underneath it all. Hugging myself made no difference when my wet clothes were leeching off my body heat.
I needed to get changed.
Not willing to wipe anything again due to carelessness, I made my way round the kitchen furniture and tip-toed over the damp floors I had just mopped. My priorities had suddenly switched places. First personal hygiene then everything else, instead of the other way around.
The last thing I needed to do today was restock the pantry with enough food for a week. The carton of milk that was expiring tomorrow was going to be dinner. I couldn’t stand the thought of having to pour it down the drain. It made me feel like a bad person. When people out there were starving, looking for food wherever they could, wasting meals was an insult to their existence.
Mother didn’t share my sentiments; she didn’t eat anything that wasn’t fresh. So when I go out grocery shopping, I give out the leftovers I wasn’t able to eat to anyone who wanted it. If it could make someone’s day better, I was more than willing to spend a few more minutes outside distributing what I didn’t need anymore.
“I hope they like fish,” I told no one in particular as I stepped out of the bathroom. With no mirror to examine myself, I had absolutely no clue if the redness on my cheek had faded into something more presentable.
I decided to cover up, just in case.
When I went shopping, I wore black. I had bribed Arleen with most of the clothes I had in order to get appropriate replacements. Everything pink she owned had once been mine and everything not pink in my wardrobe had been given to me by her.
Maybe it was just me, but pink looked unbelievably bright at night and it always made people stare. At school, I was used to it—I had been with those set of people for long enough to know when a snide look was coming and had enough time to steel myself in anticipation of a jeering comment. In supermarkets though, I was in a completely different playing field. The last time I had gone there in my own clothes, I had left without any groceries. That had been three years ago and I didn’t want to experience that ever again.
In simple words, Mother hadn’t been pleased.
When I wore dark colors though, people didn’t look so hard. It almost made me invisible.
And I liked being invisible.