Friday, August 31, 2012

The Smirk

I hadn’t seen him in months, and it had been so restful.
We lived in the same neighborhood, so of course I worried about running into him or just seeing his car drive by on the road.
I was running errands with my kids – distracted by them, focused on the task at hand. Walking down the aisle of the drug story contemplating buying candy just for the hell of it.
I rounded the corner and there he stood.
All the clich├ęs are true. I froze in the spot. Time stood still. I couldn’t utter a sound. His daughter was with him. My children were with me.
In my head were a million and one things I wanted to say. You liar. You bastard. You ruined my life, my family. I hate you. Why can’t you just disappear off the face of the earth? Why were you even born?
Instead I stood there like a fool, and what I remember is the smirk on his face. He was enjoying my discomfort. He realized he still had power over me.
I don’t know if it was that or the children, but something released. I pleasantly addressed his daughter as the children began to chat. I nodded an acknowledgement to him, and hurried my children along with the mom exhortation of “we have so much to do”.
I paid for the items in my cart. I walked my kids to the car, stowing bags and children in their assigned locations. The whole time wondering how I was calmly going about these routine activities. Angered by a God who lets men like him walk free. Smirking at me.
I wanted to shout to everyone I saw, “Don’t go in there. Watch out for yourselves and your children. There’s a rapist in there.” But that would have been inappropriate, and I’d have been viewed as the crazy one, giving him even more fodder for that smirk.
So I went on my way. I finished my errands. I helped the kids with homework, and cooked dinner, and cleaned the kitchen, and gave baths, and read stories, and tucked little bodies into beds with prayers and kisses. And I tried not to think about that smirk – not to denigrate myself for letting him/it get to me.
I crawled into bed, mentioning the encounter to my husband – downplaying it as I always did. I was over reacting. No big deal, really.
I found a new drugstore. I didn’t go back to that one for a long time, and even still over 10 years later that smirk is the first thing I think of when I walk by that store.

linking up at Write on Edge


  1. Even that one little word, "Smirk", carries so much weight. Shudder....

    Visiting from Write on Edge.

  2. Grrr. I could see that smirk on his face and wanted to help you wipe it off. Still, good for you for handling it so gracefully. I can't even imagine the kind of courage your journey has required of you. I wish you well!

  3. Creepy. And I agree with the first comment, the "smirk" says a lot by itself. Chilling.

  4. Running into someone who's done so much harm to you when you're not expecting it seems so awful. The smirk is so telling.

  5. He'll get his comeuppance. Guaranteed. Just might not be in this lifetime.


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