I walked into the room and I could tell that they had been talking about me.
The tension told me that it was not good things.
One of the girls was my friend. The rest of the people I hardly knew. Someone said “So, how was your weekend?”
The spotlight was on me.
I saw a few shoes shuffling, heard a few throats being cleared. The anticipation of my response was causing shifts in the room’s energy.
I said “It was relaxed. I did a bit of reading.”
The next day, my friend called me up and told me that she was “concerned”.
She had been hearing rumours. Over tea, my friend began to unpack her concerns. She started with my account of my weekend. The truth is, I had donated some money to a charity and they had published a picture of me in the local newsletter. I did not know this. She did and the fact that I did not see it fit to tell a group of strangers how charitable and wonderful I was, was a clear red flag for her. She ended off by sharing with me that she had spent “some more” time counselling my boyfriend. They were near a breakthrough and hopefully he would “change”.
I was stunned.
Firstly, I believed in my right to privacy, especially around philanthropy. I also knew nothing of my friend and boyfriend’s Dr Phil meetings and I most certainly knew nothing of MY hand in “pushing him over the edge”.
I was seriously stunned.
Fortunately for me, that chapter ended many years ago and I was both friendless and boyfriendless at the end of it, by no proactive choice of my own.
But who knew that in my middle-aged days of nappies and botox considerations that I would have to revisit the story.
You see, last week I sat in a room where everyone was talking about someone else’s husband and she walked in.
Someone asked her a leading question. The spotlight shone brightly. The energy in the room became greyish brown. There was shuffling and throat clearing. The tension made me start peeling the gel off my nails.
I was stunned.
Although they were all complete strangers to me and I was merely an observer sitting at the next table, I was seriously stunned.
So I closed and eyes and said “Thank you” for every weed that removed itself from my garden. And then I continued to watch the dear woman proceed to answer to her audience.
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