It was colder than it should have been
For the time of year.
The wind was cold,
Left over from the earlier rain.
We were walking to the train station,
Across the long expanse of green –
Ending our visit,
Leaving he Washington Monument behind.
I was holding your arm to keep from falling
Music emerged from a lone tent
That had been abandoned that morning.
We didn’t see the lady until it was too late.
She ran to us, desperate to make small talk
In the same way that strangers do
For sales pitches on elevators.
Did she mistake us for a couple?
I think she did,
Because I was holding your arm.
She reached out to pet my shoulder
Repeating her mantra over and over,
“Jesus loves you.”
You were in shock;
Who does that?
I wanted to make the scream
Inside my head heard.
Instead, I moved closer to you,
Hoping you would protect me
From the unwanted onslaught.
I wished I could melt into you
In order to hide,
Or be sucked into the ground.
Anything to escape.
But we were standing in the green expanse
With nowhere to hide,
And no crowd to slip into,
It was not the tourist season.
Or even a weekend filled with locals
Pretending to be tourists.
We tried to be polite,
But she was persistent…
She wouldn’t stop petting me,
Like a lost puppy,
And repeating over and over
“Jesus loves you”.
You started to walk away
Pulling me with you.
“We have to go.”
It was getting colder,
And we had a train to catch –
I was afraid we would miss the train
Then how would we get back?
You often remind me of that day,
The wind, the rain, the lady…
Especially the lady,
How she made your trip
To D.C. memorable.
Her invasion of space,
How she made you uncomfortable,
(She made me uncomfortable too.
Why did she have to pet me?)
Her lack of personality outside of faith –
A zombie sent by God
To the green expanse.