It wasn’t such a good day. God knows I had been in quite a mood since the night before and nothing appeared to be cheering me up. I wasn’t depressed or anything, I was just easily irritated by everything. I got to work and decided to keep to myself all day.

“That should work,” I told to myself. “I’ll just mind my business and everything should be fine.”

But Darlene proposes and Fate disposes.

While I was at my desk going about my duties that morning, I noticed two of my colleagues, females, who are in the same department with me having quite the heated argument that seemed to have started right from the bus stop on their way to work. So heated was the argument that they didn’t even acknowledge anyone when they got into the office. Not even after I called out a greeting to them. Their snub, whether deliberate or not, stung. But I held my temper in check. I was determined to ignore any situation that’d tick me off, and as the day wore on, there were many such situations.

And I very successfully kept my control, until during another round of argument between the two women, one of them made a rude referral to me.

And I lost it. I mean, I really lost it. I went ballistic on them, my composure and sense of decorum deserting me with every word I spat at them. Hmm, now that I think of it, my sexuality must be suspect amongst the colleagues who witnessed my clapback, because I was in my element and didn’t hold back. I didn’t care that I was drawing startled attention to us as I let down my Peruvian hair, tightened an imaginary wrapper around my hips, kept my left hand akimbo, and wagged my right hand in the universal gesture of a woman spoiling for a fight.

Yes, it was that bad. To be honest, I cannot remember most of what happened, but I do remember clapping my hands and waving them with so much attitude in the face of their furious comebacks. I still cringe at the memory of it.

Anyway, the frackers called the attention of some people in other departments and before long, calm was restored. Mercifully, both my overall boss and HOD were not in, so our drama died down unchecked by any furious reprimand or worse.

However, when my HOD returned, he was duly informed of what happened to the last detail by the office gossip, and the three of us were called in for a meeting, reprimanded and reconciled. As the women were dismissed, I was told to stay behind. My heart began pounding because I feared I was in for it. My boss expressed shock over what happened and didn’t mince words in telling me how disappointed he was by my conduct, more so because I was usually collected and jovial. He said his shock was that he expected that kind of behavior from the women and not from a man. It wasn’t a man’s place, he said, to act like a woman. This was where I wanted to stop him.

I wanted to tell him I wasn’t a man in the real sense of it. I wanted to tell him I felt the same way the women felt and so was prone to react in the same manner. I wanted to say I am attracted to men just like them. I wanted to say I had been having mood swings for a few days now, just like one of the women had recently. She’d been on her period, and who says I am not also metaphorically on mine? I may not be bleeding discharges, but I’d like to think that my psyche observes these kind of things too every once in a while. After all, do the three of us not have sexual relations with men? So why rule out the possible fact that on that fateful morning, our cycles were synced? I wanted to tell my boss to stop having expectations of me as a man but as a woman. I didn’t want to be admonished for my behaviour simply because I was expected to be a man. I wanted to escape the brunt of the reprimand the same way the other women had. I wanted to have my feelings coddled like the woman I was truly feeling like just then.

All these and more I wanted to say but didn’t.

I really was vulnerable but I got past it and went back to the real world where I am a man – the only man in my department apart from my HOD. I still cannot fully explain why I reacted that way that day, because I truly surprised myself. So I’m sticking to my original argument that I was observing my time of the month. On the other hand though, I suspect that all that boiling over came as a result of years of not being able to express myself…

Actually… no, no, no…

I prefer the former explanation (lol). It simply was my time of the month.

Written by Darlene Sirilo Johnson

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