It’s finally spring! I’m so happy I can finally get out of the house and take a walk–
“Smile, lady, smile,” said an older gentleman walking on the sidewalk.
I oblige with a toothless grin. Still walking, never stopping.
He said: “Oh, that’s worse.”
I move faster, away from the old man, filled with rage. I’m sorry for doing as you asked. Sorry my face wasn’t good enough, that my smile wasn’t pleasing enough. Sorry you didn’t like what I was giving. What’s the point of telling me to smile if you’re not going to appreciate it? I’m sorry for smiling to begin with. I’m sorry for leaving the house. I’m sorry my insecurities automatically make me want to apologize, that my make-up-less face doesn’t please your aesthetic, that I’ll never be good enough for what YOU want.
I’m sorry for being in your line of sight. I’m sorry you felt the need to tell me what to do with my face. I’m sorry you have to tell a woman what to do, yet you’re disappointed with how things turn out.
I’m not sorry at all.