The Nakedest Burden

September 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

In order to absolve irony of the dictatorship of my fate and the responsibility of my actions, I have had to slough off cynicism as well. Cynicism is to self-pity as arrogance is to low self-esteem: a shield from and hyperbolic simulacrum of the reality created by a hatred and jealousy of all we want that we feel inadequate to attain. Is it better to pretend we don’t want it than to grovel after it? Does pride have to go, too? until all that’s left is self-responsibility, the nakedest burden? No one made me unable to tell her what I needed to tell her when it needed telling. No one made me write that email or send those flowers or scroll those words across my computer screen. Did she have anything to do with the way I felt about her?

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Backwards Over the Line

August 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

“…Like that!” still rings in my ears. Herself did not like being the co-star of my fantasies (or the target of my tirades). Or letting the world read them. “I don’t like you writing about me…like that!” and I knew what a fool I’d been–a child in a room of adults, playing by the only rules I knew, and alone. It had not been a game to anyone but me. I am not ashamed of the fantasies. It calmed me to imagine us on her sofa in pajamas, her leaning back on my chest, watching British sitcoms. Was that enough to have offended her? or did it take my mind’s hands gliding ove her body to embarrass and enrage her? How real does a fantasy have to appear to someone before it’s real enough to be offensible? But these don’t seem important questions. Herself didn’t need a reason to be offended, and I didn’t need to know where the line was to keep from crossing it. The times I did so I did brazenly. But the line I crossed with the flowers was invisible to me, not painted by a code of ethics in the recognizable hues of danger long before I’d reached it to consider crossing it, but striped behind me as I stared into the dark blue eyes of angry disdain pushing me backwards over it.

Not the Compensation I Had Hoped For

March 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

The flowers were to apologize for the email. It was a desperate impulse to which I gave no pause or distraction. The words on the tri-folded, stapled sheet of copier paper with my name handwritten on it revealed how little we understood each other, but Herself got this right: I’d written a “bitter, mean-spirited” email. More words were not going to fix this. I needed a gesture. Flowers would not undo anything, but I had hopes that they would begin a calm dialogue toward reconciliation. She told me otherwise with a face nearly as mean as any words I’d written about her–a haughty chill laughing down at me. The yellow bouquet stood above and behind her shoulder on a raised counter, looking more a prisoner than an ambassador of hope. She appeared to be mocking me. I was confused. I remained confused, then I became angry. She had not read the card or taken the flowers to her desk. Beyond that mocking glare, she did not acknowledge the flowers to me. From confused to angry took less than two hours, when I snatched up the bouquet and stuffed it in the nearest waste basket. I wish now I had made a bigger gesture of it. The screensaver was not the compensation I had hoped for.

I’m Sorry

January 24, 2012 § 6 Comments

Some of the story was convenient to not tell. It was the screensaver that enraged Herself one last time. It was the ensuing meeting with her and the bosses at which the dicta were issued that made my subsequent omissions convenient. Not that I adhered to all of the dicta: I kept the blogs private for only a couple weeks, long enough to start Twickory as an outlet and rebellion against my censure. There, I presented this meeting as an absurd, Kafkaesque tribunal resided over by the person most ignorant of the situation. In that room, looking at her and seeing a very tired, small woman who still seemed to loom over me, I was ashamed of all I had demanded of her. When she looked at me in there and said, “I don’t want you writing about me like that,” I saw how little I had ever meant to her and how much the fool I’d been proportionally in trying to prove otherwise. “There will be no more apologies,” the boss ordered. I was also proscribed from speaking to her about anything personal or giving her anything. The flowers, then, had been my last apology to her, an apology she rejected as a “lie,” a designation I still don’t understand. “Flowers + Apology = Harassment?” scrolled across my computer screen. I’m sorry.

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