Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

    My husband and I were in the drugstore the other day, waiting on yet another prescription to be filled, when I noticed people were staring at him. That in itself isn't unusual; because of his height and his prominent features, (thanks again, Marfan's) he usually gets looks wherever we go. His long hair, earring and go-away-before-I-eat-your-children-for-breakfast expression don't help matters, either. We're used to it, though, or as used to it as one can ever be. I don't suppose anyone ever really gets comfortable with being viewed as a leftover from the sideshow freak days, but he deals with it. (And I know that phrasing may sound unnecessarily harsh, but I promise you, it isn't. There is nothing that isn't harsh about the blatant disregard for proper etiquette that my husband encounters just about everywhere.) I try to help him with this whenever I can.

     That said, it was worse than usual this most recent time due to the fact that my husband is still wearing an eye patch. I swear, that stupid little two-dollar piece of fabric and elastic is like a freaking beacon that screams, "Hey! Look at me! I'm over here!" Not exactly what the best thing when you already stand out in the crowd and are less than happy about it. True, he's joked about the patch and how he's enjoying his new-found pirateness since the day he got it, but that's just because he's so used to using humor to mask what's really going on. The truth of the matter is that the patch makes him even more self-conscience than he usually is and he'll be glad when it's gone.

     I don't normally notice people looking at us when we're out, not like he does. I'm sure that's because I haven't been dealing with it my whole life and therefore am not nearly as sensitive to it as my husband. Hell, even if I do catch someone looking my way, I automatically assume they're interested in whatever's around me, never actually me. I pick up on it sometimes, but again, it doesn't ever bother me the way it does him. This time, though, in the drugstore? Much different. I saw people actually stop their conversations in mid-sentence to turn their heads and watch us walk towards them. It was disgusting.

     I don't think I've ever felt as protective of anything ever as I did of my husband in that moment. The way those people openly gaped at him was just ridiculous and it broke my heart as I looked up at him and saw that he'd locked his gaze straight ahead, as if to block them out completely. We're not an overly touchy-feely couple, certainly not one who stays locked at the hip in public, but I clamped my hand onto his so hard I felt my knuckles pop. In that moment, I wanted those jackasses to know, without a doubt, that my husband was loved, was wanted, that he belonged with someone. I wanted to show them that he was mine and I was proud as hell about that fact.

     I've never felt like that before, not once in all the time we've been together and all the outings we've taken. I can't imagine what it must've felt like for my husband, to be gawked at not because of something stupidly self-inflicted, like a facial tattoo or rainbow hair, but because of something that he had no control over. I know it's happened a thousand times before and I can't figure out why this incident is affecting me so much. Have I really been that blind to it before now, or just simply dismissive? Maybe it just never felt like that big a deal to me before; I don't know. I know it's firmly under my skin now, though, and there it will stay lodged until I figure out how to get my head around it.


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