Between this post and the previous, this blog reached 4,000 hits."You'd allow one of them in your house?"
Hardly any time passed before I responded. From the other's perspective, I looked at him queerly for a moment, no more. But I remember the ideas I thought, impossibly quick had they been in words, but faster than sound, than light, than anything, because I simply thought them. They went something like this:
What an interesting form of othering. (Othering was thought as a word, for it was new enough, a fresh flavor on my tongue, sweet for the knowledge and bitter in understanding.) 'One of them.' Because, though he has just accused me of going over to the other side, of being a traitor, that very fact means he thinks me part of his 'us'. Hm. I'm thinking of him as other. Is that othering, or merely a trait of thinking of myself as having a self? Are the two separable? I certainly think one is worse.
And of course, the little one is othered. 'One of them.' You can't get much blunter than that, though I suppose one could make a case for, 'One of your/their kind.' I am not. Yet.
And that's the point. That statement is a threat. 'If you allow one of them in your house, you are a them.' Perhaps not at the same level. Perhaps worse. Traitor to your own. Turned your back on your own. Saw the light and turned away. All these little separating things, and if being other is bad, becoming other is worse.
I could claim that. Take the name of traitor for myself, wear it as a badge, my security in the knowledge that I am right. Stand up tall with my back to him, my hand extended to the scared one I protect.
But that wouldn't be honest.
By the line he draws, I was never that 'us'. I can be no traitor to a side not mine. I can betray no special loyalty if I was not specially loyal.
Then the next words rang out through my mind, the whole sentence in place and the sentiment true. Perhaps he would hear something I did not intend, but then, he would, regardless. I am no perfect communicator.
"I will always make a spare place for one of us."