Snuggling up against your partner, breathing in their scent and allowing yourself to just fall into their arms. Life feels most comfortable in those moments. Just burrow into your other half’s body and drift away on a cloud of wonderful-smelling pleasure… Things don’t seem so overwhelming, so scary, so tense, when you are in that cuddle. With your arms around eachother, you are both protected from the outside reality, and time seems to stand still while you nuzzle one another. You can let your hands casually roam over the body of your lover, and enjoy the caresses they give you at the same time. Truly, there is nothing as serene and blissful.
So imagine how jarring it is when somebody suddenly starts berating you for public indecency?
We were not exactly canoodling, by any stretch of the imagination. There we were, minding our own business, curled up on the couch in the reception of St. Patrick’s Hospital, being affectionate in the way you would expect a young couple to be when they have not seen eachother for a few days. We were cosy rather than coital, let’s put it that way.
“Excuse me”, a voice shrilly interjected.
I initially thought that it was a lady asking for assistance, directions perhaps. Instead, we were about to be lambasted by a prudish middle-aged woman with some sort of axe to grind against mild public displays of affection.
“Have a little respect. This is a hospital.”
The figure, quivering with indignation and the sort of put-upon sensibility that was only really relevant in Victorian times, wore a red top under a pair of denim dungarees and – this may be my notoriously poor observational skills misremembering, now – a grey sleep mask atop her crown. We shifted a little, taken aback by the force of her objection.
“That’s it, up, up, up! Ya can’t carry on like that.”
Everyone was looking. It was mortifying. Legitimately humiliating. To paraphrase my intimate comrade’s later point, our kind of crazy makes us not want to say anything to anyone ever – why did hers make her want to verbally abuse random people?!
I wish I had fought our corner…but I was completely dumbstruck by the sheer audacity of the attack. It was all I could do to avoid apologising instinctively for something that was completely above-board and acceptable in modern society. The judgemental part of my brain keeps insisting that I should have defended us somehow, despite how this probably would have enflamed the situation. Discretion was the better part of valour, and humouring the unbalanced is always advisable.
Even so, my mind remains flush with anger – I mean, how dare she? – and my body is shaking. Just a little, just barely, but shaking tremulously nonetheless. Furious.
I guess I know how she must have felt, right? Difference is; my fury is justified.
Solidarity, brothers & sisters… ☯