The course of the day had seen me run into a friend from college when I was steps away from getting lunch with my spouse, a friend from high school while bicycling to dinner, and another friend while eating. But I also managed to pick up someone else. The contractor who'd done the renovations where I was started hovering at my end of the bar. I spent much of my meal reading a book in my lap, but as I looked through my swept bangs, he always seemed to be staring, with some intermittent one-sided flirting. So I was relieved when he wasn't present as I picked up to leave. Instead, he was outside, and stepped up his game as I was loading and unlocking the bicycle.
I slunk quietly away into the night and hoped no one was behind me, sad that what had otherwise been a great dinner would now be sullied by this. Almost home, I paused for a picture of the city and ended up being diverted by a friend for a drink with her. Already weak, when the next bizarre flirting came, I just sat there, jaw mostly agape. Then there were unwarranted assumptions about my person and my history.
When I finally got home, the shower I took was for more than just washing away the smoke of my last stop. I wanted it to wash away the feelings I had. It's nice to feel desirable, but the unshakable idea in my head just then was different. I couldn't but think I was being exoticized due to assumptions about my body. The worst bit, though, was that those assumptions were true.