Hurtful Things: Leaning Against
Sei Shonagon’s Hateful Things
One has hopes and dreams that are thwarted by the decisions of someone else. If one is capable and strong, one can make them happen anyway. If one is heartbroken and stuck, the situation is very hurtful indeed.
One finds that the joint checking account has been shorted $300 for the month, making the budget quite tight, creating new worries.
Someone has fallen in love with another woman. Since this someone is already married, the situation is very complicated. It would seem that prevailing minds and morals would guide one to make decisions that are respectful and considerate to the injured party, but sadly this is not the case. Oh, how hurtful!
A lady sits alone in a sushi restaurant that she’s visited every week. She’s never ordered for herself so she sits and stares at the menu. “What are you in the mood for?” her wife would ask. “You pick,” would be her answer. So many years of eating sushi perfected the lady’s use of chopsticks—a very good piece of social capital. She sits there alone eating cucumber salad and sipping Pinot Gris while reading this week’s New Yorker, surrounded by couples.
I hate the sight of couples that are in love and holding hands or maybe having a kiss while saying, “I love you,” and “You’re so hot!” Don’t they realize that someone around them may have been left recently and doesn’t want to see their public displays of affection? I find it most distasteful.
To reconnect with an old childhood friend who lives 100 miles away. To have drinks with that friend and then keep from your wife the hundreds of text messages you exchange. To lie to your wife and have an affair, and then leave her after knowing the friend for six days—oh, how hurtful!
One goes to the doctor for an STD screening to have a lump discovered in her breast.
An admirer invites a lady to dinner and when she arrives, he is not what she thought he would be. She feels like running out of the restaurant.
The waiter comes to the table and asks if she is coming. “No,” she replied, “She left me,” and he looks back awkwardly. “I’m sorry,” he offers. “Me too,” is the standard reply. One can almost feel the thickness in the air each time the story is told and one finds it hurtful to the extreme.
One has been foolish enough to think that dating again might be a healthy distraction from
her pain—it isn’t.
A radiologist comes into the room to deliver the news, “We found two masses in your breast,” she says. Suddenly the world begins to close in and there is no air to breathe or light to see. A core needle biopsy and surgery consult is ordered and you wonder how you will face such a thing without your wife.
One takes her lover on the sailboat she owns with her wife—disgusting and hurtful behavior!
A woman makes love to another woman’s wife as if she is entitled to do so.
Such a person is hurtful, and so, indeed, is anyone, who does the same.
Equally hurtful is knowing your wife is socializing with her new girlfriend with your mutual friends and laughing and holding her hand—kissing her. She comes to stay with your wife every weekend—her bath towel hanging next to your wife’s—her toothbrush sits on the sink—her clothes hang next to the ones of yours that your wife took with her when she left.
Very hurtful is finding out your wife is taking the new girlfriend to Mexico to meet your in-laws.
Indeed one’s attachment to a woman depends largely on the elegance of her leave taking. When she jumps from your life on day of the Winter Solstice cloaked in a shroud of lies and deceit, and chooses to be with someone else, someone she barely knows, when Christmas is ruined for everyone because of the dark sadness that lingers over the family home, when she replaces you in her heart and in her bed without any regard to your feelings—one really begins to hate her.