we were sitting at a table, long and covered in white, drinking wine. She lifted her glass to the 9 of us, two weeks from finishing 4 years. Our glasses clinked and chimed. Then he lifted his glass to thank the women surrounding him, for he was the only man, and made a joke:
“I’ve learned a lot from you all.” He nudged me, for I sat by his side, “More than I ever wanted to know.”
I blinked. My mind was blurry. What?
My senior thesis.
I suppose when you break the communication taboo in order to discuss the menstrual taboo people are bound to have a reaction, and after he made this comment that night, I became intrigued as to how people would respond when I presented to everyone else, to the public, but the thing is, nobody else really commented on my topic.
My classmates did, they said things like “That was really fascinating” and made jokes about making really stereotypical menstruation comments for the rest of the night, just because of what I’d said. They’d known all semseter what I was doing though. They weren’t taken completly by surprise. One girl, afterwards, told me she really liked my topic. But nobody else really said anything to me. Except him, the one male student in my class. He couldn’t stop talking about it.
Which makes so much sense when you think about it, even for just a moment. Maybe all the women in the room were embrassed I dare to break the silence we’ve been long trained to embrace, maybe they agreed with what I said inspite of the uncomfortable feeling in their chest, but no matter how they reacted, they couldn’t deny I spoke of part of their reality.
But him–this didn’t belong to him and so he didn’t know how to feel.
I don’t feel bad for one second I made him uncomfortable by presenting him emotions he wasn’t used to. I just hope he pauses, next time menstruation comes into his thoughts and thinks of all that I said and maybe, just maybe, reacts a little differently than he would have before. I hope they all do, everyone who heard my words.
What else could I desire? The stain is so large, and all I have to use to erase it is my words and my own blood.