Coming to grips with someone so imperfect and despicable, with so heavy-set a presence in our everyday yet so few positive things to contribute. A suspicion that he must not mean it? But a certainty that it cannot continue. Arguments, exchanges, heated confrontations. Finally, thankfully, supposedly, good-bye.
But sometimes, still, presence. Annoying, cloying, disgusting. Repulsive face, look, clothes, hair, pants, teeth, shoes, bag, lamp, status updates. Maybe not so repugnant to the average onlooker but for those of us familiar with the person, brain, intention, malice they carry inside it, stomach-churning.
Such a villain I have never seen formed slowly but surely out of snide statements, unmet expectations, derogatory one-liners, massively failed attempts at being enough, thoughts that should have been kept private.
So even with a supposed great distance, a twinge of acid is left in our stomachs every time he approaches, stubbier, uglier, smellier to us than to the unwitting onlooker, the form even including decaying teeth that jut out like fangs, uncontrollable saliva, pus-infested boils all over face, arms, hands, a receding hairline, a hunchback symmetrical to bulbous stomach, cloaked in expensive but unattractive dress.
The lesson here isn’t to find the hidden beauty, to see the good, to bring out the best side, to forgive.
The moral is to understand and accept that these people have a way of seeping in to the fiber of a place, like a week-old garbage bag that has accidentally spilled on the carpet - no matter how much you wipe, wet, scrub and spray, the smell will linger.
In which case what you have to do is stare at the distorted form and revolting face, until it stops taking hold of you and twisting you into a ball of anger, frustration and paranoia, tense with a fervent desire for revenge and justice. Stare hard enough so that boils smooth into clear skin, hunch disappears and stretches into upright posture, saliva and fangs retract into a normal mouth. No more smell, normal hair, even decent clothing.
That way you become one of the onlookers seeing something completely normal, nothing out of the ordinary. And you can regain a semblance of control. And with enough staring, eventually it looks maybe like someone you could have once passed on the street once. And thought that they were a pretentious dresser but then you quickly forgot. And moved along.