That question

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How does one ever really answer that question?

Honestly?

No. That’s not what they want to hear.

They don’t want to know what it is going to cost you to appear before them right now.

They don’t need to know.

It won’t change them, won’t help improve their day or their lives in anyway, and it won’t do any thing for you either.

So you smile tightly and dissemble or avoid it all together.

And yet, the question is still there.

It could hang there all day between you, waiting for a response, for release and relief.

A politeness given and received.

A desire for neutral common ground, to connect and relate with another acquaintance. Someone who lies just beyond stranger, but not, and possibly never, friend.

The sentence is uttered thoughtlessly, commonly, empty, un-expectant, meaningless in its usual banality.

Unless it is given, ad nauseam, to someone who feels its line of enquiry like a scalpel slicing into expectant flesh.

You know it’s coming.

It’s inevitable.

Unavoidable.

It’s painful and leaves a precise wound that the recipient must wear along with the other, matching, scares, all coming in rapid succession from other unwary wielders of the question.

So, how are you? you look well.

 

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Oxford English Thesaurus: a chronic illness: persistent, long-standing, long-term, constantly recurring; incurable; rare immedicable. ANTONYMS acute.

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4 thoughts on “That question

    • for some reason people get a little offended, or at the least, a little taken back, when I say something like that. I’ve learnt that it’s easier for everyone if I just smile and say something like “I’m out an about which is always nice” or something of the like. It’s a strange one really, that an attempt at being polite just turns into being rude without them realising.

      • I simply say, “great!” it satisfies everyone. I have never had anyone say “oh really what make you great?” BTW I did not complement you on the piece it was gr… very nicely put together.

  1. My fall back is generally ‘not too bad’ as it is the closest I can come to honesty without causing offense. If things were really bad they wouldn’t be seeing me but when you’re chronically ill you can’t ever say your ‘well’ without it being a blatent lie. It has literally taken years for me to reply to the question without wanting to scream.

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