When it’s my turn to order coffee I look anywhere but her eyes and whisper “soy latte” like it’s a secret. When she asks my name I tell her. It doesn’t matter how you spell it.
The effects were subtle at first; awkwardness at the check-out counter; quiet comments in class more to myself than to anyone. I shrunk into myself, unable to interact like a normal human being.
Seeing a friend’s band, I stare straight ahead, hiding in the solitude of the crowd.
Last time I was home my parents took me to a museum in L.A.
“Mom, did you ever know I get anxious around big crowds?”
She looked at me worried. Outside, it was raining. I wanted to be in it, the rose garden empty and gray.
“No…when did this happen.” Something in her voice like she didn’t want to know the answer.
“I dunno” I shrugged, changed the subject.
Simple errands have their disturbances too. Unguarded moments when you’re inspecting avocados, look up and find someone eyeing you.
I keep my head down, look busy.