But you insisted on the niceness that social
norms implore. It is only polite when you have the upper hand,
while I – heart racing, words exploding out in a deluge of
nonsense that only nerves could offer at the table;
I, swallow the impatience down and temper the beast of
Anxiety. I cannot stop shaking, my hands hiding under
the table, eyes looking everywhere but at the reality at hand.
I still myself as best as I can.
I will myself to stop fidgeting and stop thinking about the next
sentence, the next polite thing, the next acceptable normal response.
I cannot help the truth escaping my lips,
or the laughter of hysterics bubble past me.
But then the worst happens,
The horror is reflected on your face. I could run and cry,
Instead, I stand, wipe my mouth and point,
“This could have been an email,” before walking out the door.
Leila Tualla is a Filipino-American poet and author based in Houston, Tx. Leila’s books include a YA contemporary romance called Letters to Lenora and a memoir/poetry collection called Storm of Hope: God, Preeclampsia, Depression and me. Her poetry is featured in several mental health anthologies and she is currently working on a poetry collection based on Asian American stereotypes and identifies. Her chapbook “PMDD & me,” is out now.
image: “Strong” by Sean O’Leary is a writer from Melbourne who loves taking photos