My hands instinctively slid into the fleece pockets of my hoodie, as they so often did in times of anxiety. Trembling, my rosy fingers brushed against the corner of a folded piece of paper, and a sharp pain shot through the index finger. I quickly pulled my hand to my mouth, and sucked the paper-cut clean, the metallic taste of blood lingering on my tongue. The crisp white paper hung awkwardly out of my pocket, and I pulled it out, gingerly, as my eyes darted back and forth, a quick check of my surroundings. Unfolding the paper, I caught sight of the word ‘Application’ in bold black text. Tension flooded my system, and my heartbeat rose. I began to rapidly walk away, a gut reaction in anticipation of a panic attack. It was as if deep down, I believed I could escape the panic attack in a matter of seconds, as if carrying myself forward would leave my anxiety by the entrance of the graveyard. The light sprinkle of rain I had been ignoring intensified, and my weak grip on the application caused it to slip from my grasp, swaying a bit in the wind, before settling on the puddle-covered ground. I imagined raindrops splattering on the sheet, causing my inky handwriting to run, red blood-like ink trailing slowly down the page, close to the shade of the graffiti that was spread variously through the town. My eyes glazed over, as my thoughts deepened, falling into a trance-like state. Some might call it a unaware form of escaping reality, but I called it Dissociative Disorder.
All of a sudden, the rubber-tipped toe of my sneaker collided with what I presumed to be a pebble, sending me barreling downwards. I grunted as my knee entered a very personal relationship with the ground. “Uhgh”, I slurred, waves of pain vibrating through my leg. There had been quite a lot of blood escaping my body within the past couple of days. I shakingly pressed my hands into the slippery cement, to steady myself. Dark red gashes were jaggedly carved into my fingers, and proved to weaken the effectiveness of my hands. My body reluctantly encountered the ground yet again, and my head gave way to the sidewalk. I could only imagine how I appeared to the rest of the world, lying in the middle of the sidewalk, rain spattering my fleece hoodie, darkening the white blonde hair that was beginning to spill out of my hood. The rain had softened a bit, and the calming sound was enough to knock me out.
“Hey, what the fuck are you doing in here, bitch?” He grabbed hold of my skinny shoulders, and shoved me heavily towards the exit. “This is the GUYS bathroom. And you don’t look like no guy to me.”
My body rammed against the bathroom door, the impact jolting the hood off of my head, exposing my choppy-poorly-cut-hair. I winced, as I realized what was to come.
“The fuck is wrong with your hair...oh. I see. You one of ‘em trannys, arent ya?” I squeezed my eyes shut to stop the tears from escaping. “Yeah..that makes sense. Look atcha. I thought you was either some malnourished butch, but you a tranny, huh?
My jaw clenched, and the hot tears dried up, leaving moist reminders around my eyelids. Shame turned into rage. I pulled my quivering hands out of my pockets. Not an anxious quiver, as I was so accustomed to. This sensation was new. Heat flooded my fingers, and my heartbeat seemed to pulse through my tightly gripped hands. An angry quiver took hold of my reddening fingers.
Taunts continued to shoot out of the man’s mouth, but they were no longer heard. The quickening pulse I felt through my clenched fingers engulfed my ears. I turned to face the sneering man, my attention captured by his intense blue eyes. Spaciness was near, I realized in a matter of seconds, before I lost sensation of the adrenaline.
The following sequence of events could not begin with the line “Before I knew what I was doing” because that would be a lie. I most definitely knew what I was doing, and could not label any of my actions as impulsive. “TY PIEPRZONY DUPEK!”, I yelled. There was no opportunity to consider the man’s presumably confused expression, as my fist flew out towards his face. He ducked, surprising me, causing a collision of my hand and the mirror behind him. The sound of glass breaking was followed by a scream, as the jagged pieces of glass cut into my nimble fingers. My heavy breathing was ragged, and I shakily aimed yet again for his face. This time, my aim proved successful, and my bony knuckles made impact on his face. As my fist collided with his nose, I shut my eyes quick, as if to escape the non-visual sounds that followed. A crunch. His screams. Slurred cursing. The surprised screams from the bartender I had just encountered. My small moment of indecision. The sound of my sneakers squeaking as I pushed past the bartender, making my way to the entrance of Hot Legs. The bell ringing as I hurriedly stumbled out the door. More heavy breathing.It appeared as if my tendency to block out undesirable parts of my life might become a dangerous reliance, considering what there was to come. How long until what I tried to block out followed me for the rest of my life?