The bank teller’s eyes widened and she stopped speaking in mid-sentence. “What is it?” I asked. I’d just come home from getting four wisdom teeth pulled and couldn’t feel my mouth. The teller was looking down at the counter, and so I looked down too. Blood was dripping onto the green-black marble.
My stitches had come loose. I put my fingers to my lips and saw blood.
I imagine that teller remembers me to this day.
When you put your work out into the world, you have no idea how people will react. Something meant one way will be taken in another. How much would it bother you?
A few weeks ago I was crossing a busy street with two of my best friends. As we stood in the turn lane, cars whizzing by, L. blurted out, “Your novel scared me. I couldn’t read past the first chapter.” More cars. “The knife under the bed.” The way across the last two lanes was almost clear. “I had to stop. I’m sorry. I was scared.”
“It’s okay,” I said, watching the cars. “Don’t worry about it. Come on, let’s go.”
What is it specifically about your work that people will react too?