I meet them at gas stations, grocery stores, even Facebook. They ask interests they won’t remember if they ever see me again. They come to my weekend job and ogle my skin while I bag their groceries. When I tell the stories, others that weren’t in my body at the times I talk about think I’m on an ego trip. My ego feeds off acceptance from a father I never knew how to please, off my paintings that blend just so. It doesn’t feed off men that want to come in my house and track water in because “raincoats just don’t feel the same.”
They feel entitled to just walking in without bothering to ring the doorbell because no one taught them the importance of that doorbell. They probably wouldn’t even know what to do once inside but stomp themselves to lethargy and then ask if my house liked the shakes. My house probably wouldn’t budge.
Even when I insist there’s already a tenant (sometimes one I’ve fabricated so the issue will drop, rarely one that really resides there), they say he isn’t nearby, that he’s a fool for letting me drag my lawn fixings around without him. The bolder ones say he’s so lucky he gets to water my lawn and eat at my table. It makes me wish my grass was dead so they’d stop asking to come in.
It makes me lock my doors for weeks at a time, never venturing out past necessity because the strangers will want to follow me. I do everything possible to prevent break-ins, but deep down I know if someone wanted to break in, they’d find an entrance. Even deeper down, I know I’d be blamed for not somehow having unbreakable windows and a pitbull and a fucking dome.
They say I’ve had people over before, so why not them as if dinner invitations are hand-me-down sweaters. I’m tired of explaining why they’re not welcome. I don’t know what’s scarier: their confusion or their anger. I just know strange men shouldn’t feel entitled to be inside my walls, inside me.
Andrea Jefferson‘s work has appeared in Eunoia Review, trampset, littledeathlit, Bridge, and others. Find the author on Twitter @honeydreee.