I was in a bus headed towards Colombo. It was a time between 8 and 8.30am, outside the Moratuwa station. She was walking in the opposite direction, in no hurry. Taking slow and somewhat clumsy steps, as if her shoes were uncomfortable.
So I looked up, at her body and then face. Her dress was a gray strapless dress that clung to her body awkwardly. Her body was like a plank. Her face...
She had short hair. Dark skin. She wasn't beautiful. But she wasn't ugly either. And yet, she was much more feminine and attractive than the transsexuals I have seen before. You look at her and you know she was a woman trapped in a man's body. You just knew. I could be wrong though, and if I am, I truly am sorry.
But I'm not writing about her because of who she is. It was her face that haunts me... And the way people reacted to her.
Her face wasn't completely void of emotion. She didn't look at all happy. But she didn't look sad either. It seemed as if she wasn't seeing the world around her. As if the people she walked past didn't exist. She looked like she wasn't just angry at the world but as if she refused to be part of it. Again, I could be wrong, and if so, I am truly sorry.
But I recognized her expression. I saw her face and immediately knew that's how I look most of the time, when I'm walking down some road. I erase the people around me, I pretend they don't exist. I focus on the ground or something in the distance, and I keep walking.
And I think this expression is a reaction to the reactions you get. As this girl walked past and the bus driver was waiting for the traffic lights to turn green, I saw how people reacted to her. And it made me so angry. I wanted to get off the bus and slap them, for being so goddamn cruel.
All of them turned back to look at her. Some of them didn't do more than that. Most, however, laughed or sneered. Most said something to whoever they were with. Most kept looking back.
I didn't hear what people said. I didn't see any of them try to reach for her breasts or ass. I didn't hear the catcalling or the crude words. But I could almost hear and see all of it, because I have gone through the same thing, for different reasons, every single day since I stopped looking like a child.
The five minute walk from home to the bus stand is mostly blank to me because I block out all of it. I just walk... And I look like I'm on a mission to kill someone, just because people, men especially, can't seem to resist the urge to say or do something when they see a female.
And what's awful is feeling so defenseless. I know females who can slap men who ogle or say something crude. I know females who will raise their voices. But not every woman can do that. Some of us can only walk away and ignore them. Some of us can't take an eye for an eye even if we want to.
And seeing that girl, I felt so sick and disgusted about this world we live in. I felt so sick that we continue to harass and abuse people and make it so difficult for some to live in this world.
Because life need not be so difficult. This world need not be so hard to live in. And if you stop staring, ogling, catcalling and generally treating people like objects to be used for your own pleasure, you can make life so much more nicer and better.
Yet, for some reason, we don't seem to be able to be better people. And so those who are at the receiving end of abuse turn into broken souls. And it's so goddamn unfair and it's so goddamn sad.