There are questions that are positively easy to answer, and then there are questions that just leave me dumbstruck. The “what happened to you” question always falls somewhere in the middle. Depending on who asks it can be fairly simple to answer even if the answer might be a little complicated. If a stranger asks, they’ll regret ever asking that question again.
My neighbor, Mika, asked me the question two days ago. It completely unbalanced me. I think I wasn’t prepared even though I caught myself taking the deep breath and reminding myself to keep eye contact with him. The words came out as if I were an encyclopaedia. Automatic and even a bit self-deprecating. Telling him at that moment made me feel so vulnerable, so exposed. I’ve known Mika for weeks now. He’s such a sweetheart, and we have fun together (his espresso is to die for). The most remarkable thing he did after I told him was nothing. No apology. No pity-like stare. Nothing. He just chatted on about this guy he wanted to date and had promised to lift because the poor thing had broken his legs. Simple as that.
Except for me it was the most difficult revelation I have had to make to a new friend in a while. And I know I wasn’t devastated. I think I was really just afraid of what he’d think of me after I gave him the whole spiel. Maybe I was even disappointed. He didn’t give me the satisfaction of acting like everyone else. And if he did, he hid it really well. No, Mika accepted my explanation and moved on. I looked into his eyes and he was smiling. Mika was thinking about the guy.
So much for easy questions.