To the woman who made fun of me today at Target,
I saw you…
You were openly mocking me. I don’t think you knew I was watching, I was in the back of the store, a few rows away tucked almost out of sight.
I get it, I really do, I make an easy target with my unnaturally slow gait, my arms always lifted just so, the slack jawed look on my face. You’re not the first person to make fun of me. You’re not even the first person to do it in front of me. It has happened for as long as I can remember.
Some have been less kind than you were.
Children have run away screaming.
Teenagers have clutched each other in mock terror.
Adults have moaned and groaned in a half-hearted attempt at humor, but I’m not laughing.
After all this time I am used to it, and yet it still hurts.
From my spot in the store (just behind a Batman costume), I saw you in what I can only assume was a half hearted attempt to pretend to be me. You shuffled your feet slowly along, your hands raised just enough to reach the shopping cart. Your hair was set in a sad replica of my own, pulled every which way and unkempt. Your filthy clothes clung strangely to your body, as though you had been in them for days.
Honestly, I’d expect this sort of thing at Walmart, but not here… not at Target.
I saw you, a woman that I had never met before, so determined to show anyone within looking distance how clever you were. How funny you were, as you took all of my worst features and amplified them.
Was it worth the laugh and the attention from the other shoppers? Was it worth the shame you brought on your family? I could see the two small children in your shopping cart. The baby in the basket is still too young to know what you are doing, but the toddler was facing you, watching you, rapt with attention. These are learned behaviors, and you are teaching that little girl that it is okay to make fun of other people for their physical differences.
As you drew closer, I saw you better yet. There was food on your shirt. And a bit of drool in the corner of your mouth. You yawned, and stretched, and from behind that Batman costume on Aisle 13 I saw you a little bit clearer. I was able to read the words on your shirt. I should have known.
Yes, it’s just a joke to you, but for me it’s my life! I cannot just drop from this hanger, where some lazy store employee hastily hung me (this isn’t even my goddamn section, I should be over with the other monsters and ghouls), and stop being me. This is the face I must wear every day of the year, my hair will always look this way, I will never be able to change out of these gore stained clothes. This is my life. And you mock me with your, “I’m so tired, I’m dead on my feet.” routine.
I am the actual undead! Risen from the ground and called forth by my constant quest for brains. You are just a tired mother of two small children. Have some self-respect woman! Put down the dry shampoo, buy a pair of actual pants, and for the love of god- there is human puke on your shirt.
The actual zombie costume (hanging up in the wrong damn spot), in aisle 13