I go to class. We are discussing Islam in modern society. I chime in. A neighbor, who identifies as male, leans over from across the aisle: “You can’t be pretty and smart.” He thinks he’s giving me a compliment. There is an awkward pause as he waits for me to meekly deny my sexuality. I do not comply. He turns away. I’m not sure he actually listened to anything I said.
I call home. I tell my dad I’m starting a nonprofit that redistributes collegiate athletic shoes. “Is that so?” he asks with a confused inflection. “Isn’t that a bit much?”
He means well.
I head to the gym to cross-train. I mount a sweaty elliptical. I’ve forgotten my headphones and can’t manage to tune out all the curious pairs of eyes: some looking at my butt (big for a white girl, I know), some looking at my chest (small, given my butt), and some daring to meet my own. I cannot help but feel a sting of guilt because I know I just sent them daggers.
I go to afternoon practice. I attend a slew of meetings. I go to the Union because my house of bone-tired runners hasn’t had time to schedule a wifi appointment. I work into the night. I have to walk home with a friend who identifies as male because it’s dark out. He pokes fun at me for a relationship of sorts I had last year. I don’t know how he knows. I hope he’s not flirting. I hope I’m not flirting.