Forbidden Words

I was in a hallway on a second floor of a homeless shelter. A woman was walking past me. I was slightly taller than her, but she was older and haggard from drugs and alcohol. She was tiny, and I instantly felt anger at her for stealing and lying. A few feet after I walked past her, I whispered the word, “cunt” under my breathe. The woman spun around and pointed a frail finger at me. Enraged that I should break the shelter rules and swear. “I heard that,” she said, “and I am going to tell!” 

I shrugged. Then the woman disappeared to reemerge with one of the house managers who was accussing me of hitting this woman over the head with a frying pan! I was shocked, since this was not what had happened. The other house manager emerged and I sat her down at a picnic table and explained how I sworn under my breath and how worried I was about accidentally breaking the rules. She believed me, and laughed at the situation, and my lack of comfort. 



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