Yesterday, my husband and I took a bus to the Washington Ethical Society, a local progressive church, to hear Holocaust survivor Estelle Laughlin give a talk about her childhood before, during, and after her internment in the Majdanek and Czestochowa concentration camps.
We boarded the bus a block from home and filed to the back, where two seats were available for us to sit side by side. I asked John if he wanted to sit by the window – he’s very curious and prefers the window seat – but he declined so I could enjoy the view. I draped my arm around his shoulders and gazed at the passing buildings; he leaned into me while he wrote an email on his phone; we passed many minutes in the gentle hum of the cool bus, sunlight streaming in, everything very much at peace.
Then a man boarded and walked towards a seat directly behind us. He visibly recoiled when he saw us, and as he passed we heard the chilling, unmistakable epithet: “faggot.”