It's a rather odd sensation to feel as though you're damaged goods before you've even began. It's akin to being a dented can of tuna at Safeway. People notice that can, to be certain, probably pausing momentarily to ponder what circumstanced led to its indentation. Most likely a clumsy, blemished stock boy. Yet, after this diversion, they inevitably decide on an undented can of tuna, the safe choice.
That poor fucking can of tuna. It's perfectly good inside and yet know one really wants to give it a go when it is surrounded by all it's perfectly cylindrical cousins, who may very well be discovered to have gone bad themselves upon opening.
That's really what it is, isn't it: you want to be opened, want the chance to show that you're not spoiled and that you would taste lovely with a tomato on rye. It's understandable. The metaphorical dent can be very tiring after carrying it with you your whole life. It's not that people are mean about it, the odd car full of drunken asshole at 2am aside. They don't intend to be rude when they ask you about it on the street, and really isn't intent the most important thing in these situations? You kind of like it at first, think you're being checked out even, until the brow furrows and the eyes move down from your face to your feet and then back up again with curiosity, sympathy even. Hardly the lustful gaze you had anticipated. Sometimes they ask you about it, again, without malice, but real wonder. Never a pleasant experience, you stop - or maybe you don't - and tell them that it's medical, wait for their reaction, sometimes a "That's cool. We were just wondering" (they're never alone, always in a small group) and you continue on your way. Sometimes if you're feeling particularly pissy, you tell them that it's a 46-letter medical condition and would they like the entire name of it or simply an abbreviation. You always regret this the moment you say it as the embarrassment creeps across their face. Sometimes if you're tired or maybe a little sad and don't feel like this inquisition, you lie. You tell them that you were in Afghanistan and had both of your legs blown up below the knee. To sell it, you'll knock on your shin, as though it made a hollow noise that they can't hear. Surprisingly, this last response offers less guilt than one would think. You're not proud of it, but somehow you feel you've earned the chance to be seen as more noble than who you really are, earned through the constant efforts it takes to just stay on your feet. They don't know, nor should they. If they knew, then they would realize that the best thing in this circumstance is no comments at all.