The loss was hers

She noticed him staring at her. Staring directly, as if there was a touch, an unwanted touch.
She looked away. Pretended to do something else.

He was still staring. It was intrusive.

She spoke up.

“Don’t stare. Go away. Behave yourself”
He looked at her some more.

And then languorously lifted himself off his perch, still looking. And slowly walked away.
She could breathe now.

Her husband was sitting next to her. He asked – “Why do you talk to these people? Why do you engage with their rudeness?”

She had no words to explain – if she kept quiet – she allowed it, if she spoke – she engaged with it.

The loss was always hers to bear.