Last night something awful happened. But before I continue I suppose I should warn you not to read on if you have a sensitive stomach or are eating while reading because this involves bodily fluids.
The incident took place in the writing class I attend every Tuesday evening. There are only 8 students in the class and the room was silent, apart from the scratching of pens as we scrawled down a page or two of prose.
And then the woman sitting diagonally across from me sneezed, making some of us, who had been immersed in our own little worlds, jump. “Bless you,” someone muttered and everyone continued on in silence, etching away with their pens, scoring out mistakes and rustling sheets of paper.
But I had stopped writing. I was staring at my right hand in utter disgust. There, resting on my skin was a big wet bobble of snot.
OMG. WTF! Yes! I had someone else’s snot on my hand!
I’d seen the green goo fly from the woman as she sneezed. It scattered the table and sat on my hand, like an offensive pearly bug that landed there knowing fine well it wasn’t welcome.
What the hell was I to do? My facial expression turned into a gurn as I stared at the vulgar bodily fluid that wasn’t my own. It shone in the light, winking at me evilly.
My cheeks burned as if they were on fire with the humiliation. Had someone else noticed? Were they sitting watching me, to see how I would react? I couldn’t look up, didn’t dare meet anyone’s gaze. Oh the shame!
I waited, pretending to write. Soon enough, I told myself, we’ll finish the writing exercise and my movement won’t draw attention. I waited a whole three minutes with someone else’s bogeys on my hand. The more I looked at it the more it seemed as if the thing was growing, dwarfing my hand beneath it. My skin felt infected. I took deep breaths, hoping that the bile that had risen in my throat would disappear.
In the end I couldn’t stand it for a moment longer and raked my bag frantically to find tissues. I came out with a stray, crumpled Kleenex from the bottom of my bag with a glob of chewing gum in it that had solidified and was now rock solid. I wiped the tissue across my hand frenetically, saying goodbye to the offensive gob of snot that didn't belong to me.
The thought of that incident still turns my stomach; as I was writing this I had to swallow back a mouthful of sick. And I think I may have turned a tad obsessive compulsive as I run off to scrub my hands every time it enters my mind (which is surprisingly often. Tell your mind not to think about something and all it does is think about it).
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must run away to the bathroom to scrub those hands.