You don’t look good. Oh really?
MONDAY, January 11 – A colleague I’ve always liked falls into step with me in the corridor and tells me how great it is that I’m back.
‘The feeling is mutual,’ I assure him, and no matter how ‘standard’ that sounds, I really mean it.
‘Just one thing,’ he says. You don’t look too good.’
‘Well, thanks a lot,’ I say with a laugh. (How are you supposed to handle a remark like that?)
‘No, I’m serious. You really don’t look good.’
Then he throws one arm around me and adds, ‘It’s plain to see you’re having a hard time dealing with it all.’
I was upset for hours. There you are, walking down the hallway, cheerful and full of energy, and boom; someone hits you with that. Does everyone expect to find you to be well-rested and carefree, since everything has so obviously been going your way?
‘No, you fucking idiot, at the moment I’m living through a nightmare. So keep your goddamned trap shut, will you?’
Unfortunately, a retort like this always occurs to me too late to be of any use.