Home Stay

You’re so good natured! he says
Aw! Look at your smile! You are so smiley and nice!
Then he grabs my face and plants two slobbery kisses, one on my cheek and a surprise one on the lips.
I hated him from that moment.
Smile for me! He would demand many more times throughout the week.
“I will smile when I feel like smiling.” I would reply tersely.

The power of an involuntarily sweet smile is that my bitter thoughts are less apparent. A child’s face is hard not to love. They could be evil and scheming, and we wouldn’t know. Then there’s me. A harmless vulnerable young girl traveling alone.

I find him brutally, painfully, teeth-clenchingly annoying, but I am not afraid. I am taking a bus away today and feel a flood of releif, but I was never afraid.

Under the charming smile is a will to kill. Part of me wishes he would try, just get a bit closer, so I could have an excuse to really teach him a lesson. I clutched a knife under my pillow that whole week.

“It makes me uncomfortable when you kiss me on the lips,” I had offered, giving him the cultural benifit of the doubt. People do weird shit in India. “But what if I enjoy it?!” He demanded. I hated him from that moment.

Am I really so good natured? Fuck you. I clutched the seat of the car and told him I couldn’t stay with him. No no no! I’m sorry! I will never kiss you again! Not in my whole life, not in 200 years!

None the less, fuck you.

I will stay, but I’ll sleep with a knife under my pillow.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.