‘An Elderly Man Says Something To My Friend. He Wants To Know If I Taste Good’

By Breanna Mae Estrada:

Editor’s Note: Cake, in collaboration with The Mira Project, brings to you a series of powerful stories on gender, violence, street harassment and mental health by women, woman-identified and gender non-conforming folks, of various ages and nationalities. Head here to know more about The Mira Project.

In this story, I am entering Costco with my mother and a family friend. We are only here to pick up a few things. Mom already knows she will lose me in the book aisle immediately. The friend is male so everyone assumes I am his whenever we are out together. People are crisscrossing paths in and out of the store and an elderly man says something to my friend. He wants to know if I taste good. My mouth is too full of hide and run to respond.

In this story, the sun is going down and I am walking home with my best friend after a fight with my boyfriend. He left us alone a few blocks from where we were staying after I caught him staring at her ass. And now, on the corner by the little sandwich shack, we are stopped. Two men, about as old as both of us girls combined, ask us where we are going. They say we are too tasty to be walking alone out here. That something could happen. We hurry away, twist our necks back like surveillance cameras, searching to make sure we are not followed. The streetlights blink Morse code onto the sidewalks. I do not know what they’re saying but I hope it’s something along the lines of I’ve got your back.

In this story, I am working as a cashier at a diesel truck wash. The shift is 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and I am almost always alone. A trucker has come out of the showers with his bathing kit. He stops to get a cup of complimentary coffee before heading out to his rig. My shirt is orange and has the Reese’s candy logo emblazoned across my chest. Being able to wear clothing declaring that I eat anything, let alone peanut butter cups, is a big step for this body. So when the man with the coffee cup asks if I taste like the candy on my top and leaves, I’m startled. For the rest of the night, I choke on my own tongue.

Breanna lives in the Mojave wasteland, where she fights dinosaurs, highwaymen, and the occasional race-car driver. She laughs at nearly everything, eats poetry at every meal. Her favourite colour is rainbow. She can’t resist a good cover song. She has got two weasel-dogs, a demon-cat, and a wonderful family and friends. She is currently working a few different poetry projects, books, and stories right now.

To read more stories from The Mira Project, head here.