She spat out 'That's not a very nice thing to say' like it hurt her mouth to have the words form on her soft tongue. She was bristling like a cat and trying to play the wounded card all at once like a confused echidna playing possum. I just stared at her in disbelief. She kept repeating herself as though it would change my mind or render my words obsolete. I stared at her in disbelief hoping that she would become bored and walk away but she was bristling and puffing and demanding an answer.
She was dissatisfied with my explanation that it was a statement of fact and not a judgment on her person. She started yelling 'That's bullshit'. It was here that I stopped her and enquired as to just when was the last time she wrote a work of fiction. She then tried talking kindly to me, trying to coax out what was wrong enough to make me so hurtful. I thought hell no lady, if you think if it was hurtful to say that I write better when you're not here you're going to pop an artery when I tell you that I am trying to ignore you because I am sounding out a sentence for my manuscript in my head to see if the words fit in a way that sounds right to me.
Eventually she went away but now I'm thinking about it on repeat. Why on earth would someone be offended by the idea that I write better when they're not here. It seems so obvious to me. So obvious that it didn't require uttering to be brought to anyone's attention. So obvious and natural that it is impossible to be offensive. Had she secretly hoped to be the one exception to the ordinary rule? It is all very strange.