Saturday, June 10, 2017

Don't Touch Me

It was a short hop plane from Toronto to New York. Nothing terribly fussy and a fairly easy in, easy out, after some minor stress on the getting to the airport on time front. I was happy to be in NYC. Hellion was on the ground, we were meeting at my hotel in roughly an hour, life was mostly good. I had music in my ears to keep me going, it being almost eleven p.m. after a long day. I didn't want to be asleep too early. Didn't want to lose focus.

Dancing on public transit is rather a hobby of mine and I like to do it.

Dance like no one is watching on a bus.

Dance like no one is watching on a train.

Dance like no one is watching on a plane.

I am my own private dance party, and I don't care if anyone is watching.

So it was that I was dancing on the aisle on my plane. The plane was only lightly populated, so deplaning was sure to be fairly swift. My seat was not so far back to be an annoyance, and without large bags all I needed to acquire was my backpack to be ready to go.

The sound is up.

The song changes.

Nick Cave - Supernaturally



Tunes are loud, body moving in strong. The line is not quite moving yet. People are giddy, laughing, and happy. It's a good night. It's a late night. 

There is a group of girls next to me, wine drunk. White girl wasted. The stewardesses had done their best on the flight to be humorous and make the passengers laugh and the girls were into it. I didn't care about the girls. I just wanted to get off the plane. The stewardesses make a final quip and people laugh. I bounce around in line, excited to see Hellion, excited to have a few days on the ground. 

Which is why at first the poke on my side didn't bother me. People are shuffling around on plans, there are always pokes and arms and elbows. I looked down, the girl was not trying to get my attention. I looked at her. She smiled. I turned back to dancing. Then she started again. 

Poke. 

Poke. 

Poke. 

Poke. 

Poke. 

It occurs to me this is in time with the music. Part of me wants to ignore. Until I realize she is doing it in time with the music. 

She is laughing, her face a big wide sharks grin as she continues to put her hands on me, to touch me, treating my body like an object for her entertainment. And suddenly I'm filled with rage. After my most recent sexual assault I bought a bracelet to remind me that it is okay to tell people not to touch me. That the past life learning that tells me I have to let people casually put their hands on me can be undone. That I don't have to tolerate physical attention on my person without my consent or interest. 

TOUCH ME AND DIE

Poke

I turn and I shout at her, raising my hand at her, raising my bracelet at her, "Don't fucking touch me!"

The plane get's quiet. The girl looks like she is about to cry. The passengers behind her shake their heads and look away. Judgement is apparent. Judgement for not playing along with the cute little blonde girl that was just having some fun. Judgement for wanting my body respected. Judgement for dancing to the music and not understanding that was in invitation for unwanted attention. Judging, judging, judging. 

My stomach is a pit and I feel sick, nauseous, as soon as the isle opens up moving as quickly as possible to get off the plane, to get away from all these causal assessors of my behavior. I grab my bag and get out of the airport as quickly as possible, still shaking, texting Hellion to let him know what happened. 

A few minutes later I get a call.

"Are you somewhere safe?"

A simple question, and with a simple question I feel all the stress and guilt melt away. The only medicine for the sickness: concern. 

Knowing that someone cares means all the world to me and it was all I needed to calm down, come down, feel better. We talk for a few minutes to confirm the plans, I tell him I'm safe, I get checked into the hotel and wait for food. 

Later I collapse in his arms, telling the story, showing him my bracelet. 

"I was wearing a fucking sign that literally says 'don't touch me'."

"Okay, first, she shouldn't have done that. Second, you need a bigger sign."

I laughed. Inside I was dancing for entirely different reasons. 


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