In the morning, there is sun, shining defiantly though a November breeze insists it’s still cold enough to want gloves. It is a bargain. Before you unlock your bike to leave for work, you unzip your coat for a photograph of the sticker on your shirt. Please. You think so loud it’s almost a whisper.
You think you’re too good to talk to me? You’re deer-in-the-headlights, heart racing. I was a cop; who the fuck are you? You think you’re something?Every time you remember it you wish you’d said something, shouted at him. Yes, yes, yes, of course I am.
Celebrating feels like tempting fate but, still, it is hard not to feel something.
Heading up to a red light, a middle-aged man in a blue suit coat and khaki pants brushes by you on his bike, so close there’s barely enough room between you and the row of parked cars. You can’t coast up a hill, sweetheart. He wanted you to hear it, and you did, but you call after him anyways: Excuse me? Traffic is moving again. He’s still riding ahead, but he turns around so he can look right at you. Pedal, you stupid cunt.
You catch eyes with a woman on the corner, wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words: THE FUTURE IS FEMALE. You both smile.
Start big. A wobbly crayon drawing of a blonde baseball player, a boss, a veterinarian — fuck it, a pumpkin. It is all possible until you’re taught what is not.
They need a present for a five-year-old. Blocks? No, this is for a girl.
At night, the wind picks up.
You’re beautiful. You just needed a new phone charger, asked him where to find it. You got a boyfriend? His co-worker laughs. He better looking than me?Tell him you have what you need. I’m going to keep my eye out for you.
You accidentally throw your shirt with the sticker on it into the wash, but by the time you realize it is too late. These are the kinds of things you’d hold on to — ordinary markers of something momentous. But there is more than one way to remember.
A man tells a room full of women to be careful, to reconsider. Accusations follow someone forever.
A man tells a room full of women he can do whatever he wants to them. He is rich. He is powerful. He is President.
By the time the wash is finished, the tide has already turned. You find the shirt you wore. The sticker comes out as dust.