Spoken and unspoken

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog lately. Like many of you, I have been sitting under the pile of stories avalanching over my newsfeed, uncertain whether to say, “me too,” or simply to bear witness to the pain that too many people share.

Some of the stories we could tell are too trivial for notice. Others stay buried because their bones come with too many pounds of flesh, which refuses to decompose even over the decades. I am not surprised that a 14-year-old would turn around forty years later to discover that her story of abuse is still hanging around her neck, its hand dangling over her breast, and that she is as unprepared as she ever was to swat it away.

I’ll tell you a funny one, because it’s painless, and has an ending, with a side order of satisfaction.

Like the punchline to a tasteless joke, we don’t remember the endings to them all.

Anyway, the funny one: I had just finished working in the pub kitchen by day, and I was a waitress at the nice hotel by night. There was melon on the appetizer menu. Cue much hilarity and many boob jokes among the large party table of men whom I was serving, and whose tip was definitely penance for the sins they knew they committed against me over the course of the evening to come.

The next morning, the pub job over, I started a fresh gig at the delicatessen across the street. The manager introduced me to my new co-workers, including a nice young man who had been out celebrating his birthday the night before with a dinner party at the nearby hotel. He had the decency to turn as red as a radish.

I tell you this one, so that we can laugh, and turn our backs for another century or so on the graveyards full of other, rotten bodies.

But late one night, by the full light of the moon, we will command them to rise and account for their stench.

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