Monday, July 16, 2018

Chapter 75: All in your imagination

Have you ever wanted to scream? Just scream until you felt infinately better and until everyone around you wised up? Of course, the trick would be for the ones who needed the smarts were the ones who got the smarts.

Screaming like that would probably only get one locked up. It would feel good though. Get me some of that attention I seem to crave.

Whats wrong with me? Why am I so hell-bent on being noticed?

Oh if you'd read the chat last night! I still can't believe the words exchanged, the ideas played with. Leaves me a bit breathless -- just words! Imagine!

Powerful word, imagine.

I like to imagine nights cuddled up on the couch, long conversations -- both serious and playful. A previous post remarked that I like the idea of being the center of his world. It's a comforatble place to be, really. While I don't want a man who clings and demands, who can't sort his socks let alone wash them, I need someone who will let me fuss over him somewhat. I need someone who will care for me as well, but that's less of an issue. I'd never choose a man who demanded caretaking.

I like to imagine an awful lot of things, really.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Chapter 74: Deciding

Rage is all there is. Buried under everything that is that sense of unbelonging. Of being too wholly your own and no one else's. Or the reverse. Too much someone else's and nothing of your own. I'm my own. He can't and won't own me. I'm my own. He could, if he wanted to. But he hasn't opted for that.

He tells me through the silent telephones and the empty e-mail inboxes that he's still deciding.  Or has perhaps already decided.

Some days it's all too dreamlike, and I'm sure that he was only an imagining of mine. Someone from my writings who stepped from the pages, the ink becoming blood. No wonder I write in red. It's the hue of passion and of violence. Opposites.

I remember the dream of him looking at me, of walking across the office, of taking me. His hands on my arms as he pulled me to him for a kiss and nothing else. It was everything else, though. He knew what he was doing, from the moment he stood up and came to me. His expression told me, too, that he knew I wanted it. And I did. I had. For months, I'd imagined... but never hoped. I can still see him striding towards me, purposeful. I can remember standing there, unwilling to breathe and break the spell. He knew what he was doing, what he was getting into. I just knew that he made me forget everything but the feel and touch and taste of him. I just know I never forgot. And still haven't.

Perhaps I won't let myself.

Perhaps it doesn't matter.  

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Chapter 73: Lessons learned

He left the hours later.  New lessons learned, new sides to explore. New words for our vocabulary. He's what I suspected. I might be what I've wondered.

Say hello to me, he commanded after I let him in.  We're going to solve this now.  There was nothing hesitant in his words.  Nothing allowing me to argue.

I'm still not sure what happened.

Never did I think... did I expect... this man, so cultured and educated, letting me... then again, it was equal... I let him, too...

He wants to read my writings. Not my usual fiction of self-discovery and cheap romance, but what might happen when we're together next.

Naked flesh and entwined limbs, mating tongues and nails down the back... kissing every inch, exploring intimately. He knows that I've few boundaries and boundless curiosities. He knows, now, that he can push limits and see what happens when he gives commands beyond "kiss me."

Does he know I dress for him? The last time I went to the lingerie store and treated myself, it was with him in mind.

Though I didn't see him today, I won't until next week when he comes in for another meeting, I wore the brassiere I bought for the next time I see him: a pale pink one, designed to push and lift and create the illusion of cleavage. Over it, a faded black Harley Davidson t-shirt. Paired with a ratty pair of jeans, I looked like I'd be right at home in the local trailer park.

But trailer trash doesn't own pink lacy nothings from exclusive shops on Walnut Street.

But now it's only memories and I'm here in the yard of my small rental house, tearing out some dead annuals and replacing them with perennials, and all the while my mind on my him, imagining him surprising me. Pulling up without warning, his handsome face wearing a mischievous grin. He's never seen me in anything but work clothes -- or carefully chosen casual attire. I've cultivated the image he knows, carefully hiding my barely blue collar roots. He's never seen me in large t-shirts and and torn jeans, never seen me with my oldest glasses on or with my hair tucked under a baseball cap. I don't think he knows I own tennis shoes, much less generic Keds that are so old the seams are ripping. When the laces broke, I never bothered to replace them.

I could imagine his amusement at my appearance, could imagine my laughing at him for being surprised... like he was the day he first saw me barefoot,wearing a silver toe ring. Sometimes I still manage to shock him.

I could imagine inviting him in, but getting no farther then the basement of my little rental house. No wild seduction fantasies here, reader; no images of his chasing me around still-unpacked boxes; no teases or denials. Nothing but a kiss.

You know the sort, don't you? The hungry sort that tells everything. The sort that begins with lips parting and tongues touching, but continues with my biting his lip gently to hear him groan... the sort where I next taste his neck and work my way to nip his ear... the sort where I dig my nails in to his shoulders and back...

I could imagine his arms around me, his kissing back, trying to maintain some degree of control... his lips on my neck, my shoulders... his hands starting to roam as mine go to his arms, his shoulders... feeling his strength, his power...

We'd fall against the wall, his body pinning me against it as his mouth claimed mine once more...

He wants to read explicit, wild writings. As I write, I blush. Even something this tame brings a flush to my face and makes my fingers pause. I want to write about clothing that falls to the floor, about his taking me right there. I want to tell you how the very thought of it makes my body ache... but I can't. Not yet...

It's all I can do to dig in the earth, my trowel sinking into the soft, cool mud. Pulling out flowers that bloom only once, replacing them with those that are continual. There's an analogy in there, I know, of the hardness and the softness, of the giving of life... the violence of removal, of tearing away to reveal the naked earth versus the tenderness of planting... easing in and pulling out...

Over and over until an explosion of scarlet blooms fill my yard.

Over and over, until an explosion... blooms...

?

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Chapter 72: What men or gods are these?

A black-and-white dress, red patent pumps with an open toe, and butterflies in my stomach. We met once again. It was planned and orchestrated and open-ended. I didn't know if we were going to sit and talk or tangle in the back of my car. I didn't know what would be expected or given, hoped for, or found.

When we made our plans, our cell phone conversation left me unusually rattled.

Like a teenager, unable to wait for the intimacy of a private home line, I'd locked myself in an unused office claiming writer's block and the need for privacy in a different setting. Cheesy, I know, but they're used to my being a bit off. Instead of writing, I talked and listened. Savored.
Keats' words come to me now, unexpected, as I remember.
What men or gods are these? What maidens loath?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

My own drive home just an hour later was as silent as the urn itself, holding the answers in and releasing nothing to the casual viewer. The flush to my cheeks could be explained away easily. No one would see my heart pounding. Other clues were hidden beneath my carefully arranged dress. No one would think the wrinkles in my dress came from something beyond a long day at work and a longer drive home.

What mad pursuit? Madness in its fullest glory. Madness in believing it's possible, in acting on everything, in the audacity to lust. What wild ecstasy? What wild ecstasy! The promise making it worth the wait. A man and a woman, eternally chasing. There's nothing maidenly about me, nothing godlike about him. Two mere mortals, though sometimes I feel rather like the Siren singing her deadly aria. He'd be my Odysseus, then, full of hubris. Convinced that he'd fulfill me so much so that he would indeed be my first and I would lay under him with virginal wonder. Perhaps I'm more Circe. Hardly the innocent. Luring him not to his death but to torment nonetheless, keeping him a prisoner of sorts.

Delilah? Hester?
Are there really any struggles to escape? And, if so, just what are we trying to escape?

At the grocery store, the light piano muzak reminded me of gently breaking glass, a slow shattering. Caused not by the violence of a drop or a throw but by pressure. Squeezed by seemingly benign forces until the cracks show. Crushed until the vessel can't withstand it any longer and it explodes, sending shards everywhere.

Distracted barely covers it. I bought the wrong groceries, nearly missed by turn-off, almost ran a stop sign. I felt as if shattering would be the only way to release the pressure built by hearing his words and his groans. Is there any sound sweeter to a woman then her name called out by her lover?

So today, black and white -- clear-cut, aren't they? Nothing grey about them. Yes or no. On or off. In or out. Black and white: make up your mind and jump in or stay out. And red. Symbolic, isn't it? The shade of passion and lust, blood and violence. Even now I hear him, saying my name. Meredith.  Gasping it. When he holds me, he hold me tightly. There's nothing partial or pausing about his touch. When I remember, I remember his touch more then anything.

What's black and white and read all over?
I'd like the answer to be me.

I'd like to be that easily read and for him to read me -- to map me with his hands, spend hours on my geography. And, conversely, to read him. To run my hands over him, learn and memorize. Discover and delight.

To read. The act itself -- opening a book, laying it back on its spine, spreading the pages -- is hardly benign. Opening and laying bare the author's words. Is it any different then when I lay under him and he unbuttons my blouse? When he lays me bare... opening me to read...

Julia Alvarez immortalizes the sensuality of it in her poem Bookmaking, one of the most unforgettable and somehow physical poems I've read to date. Reading means, of course, that every page is turned and every word is taken in. Well-written books and fine wine. Both demand your fullest attention. You can drink them both in, imbibe, savor...

Such thoughts are easy when you're waiting in your car, when he hasn't come to you yet, when you can still tug your dress over your knees and tuck your bold red shoes under the seat somewhat. When he comes to you though, funny how words fall away but for one simply plea.
Read me.

And he knows exactly what you mean when your lips part and those two syllables are breathed. Funny, isn't it, how right it all seems.

No, not Hester or any of her ilk. More like Janie, no longer waiting to take her turn, watching Tea Cake come up the porch steps...

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Chapter 71: Severed Ties

"Meredith? You mean my bitch of a sister?"

Nice family, the interviewer thought.

"She used me to move out of a perfectly good house and a respectable relationship and then disappeared on me. She was playing around on the side with some guy she worked with, while Reed was trying to keep that house running. No, before you ask, he was not having an affair. Cyber chats do not count. They're fantasy. They're safer then anything out there. No diseases, no divorces. Mer overreacted. It's not like Reed was sleeping around on her."

"I want to know about her childhood. I spoke with your aunt and..."

"She didn't feed you the line about my mother being the town floozy, did she? Geeze. Let me set you straight. Dakota was a lousy mother, and a drunk, but she wasn't some prostitute. Mer was the one all the guys were after -- but she was as frigid as they come. Don't let her fool you, buddy, she knows exactly what she's doing. She won't let a guy near her if he knows about her inheritance. I don't think she did more then kiss a guy until college, when she could pretend that she was some struggling artist writer or whatever."

"Stephen, look, this is completely different from the story your aunt gave." Inheritance?

"The old bat hated my mother for not begging for money. She hates Mer for not being cowed by the Brooks name. She abhors the fact that Mer managed to not only have a career but a successful one. She's just bitter. I trust you didn't tell her where to find us."

"No."

"Good, at least you did something right. Where is my sister anyway? She hasn't contacted me in months."

"Why is it so important that Geenie doesn't find you?"

"And have the old bag breathing down my neck again? I was raised in that house, and I took off as soon as I could. The last thing I need is her trying to exert her power over my children and my life. As far as I'm concerned, she's part of my past. My kids don't even know she's alive and, for now, we're going to keep it that way." Stephen paused for a moment, leaving him holding his breath and wondering if anything else would be added. His patience was rewarded. "For all that I think of my sister, I will admit that she's got a backbone of steel. She survived life with our mother. She told Geenie to go to hell. She didn't fall apart like everyone expected her to. Meredith is impulsive and hot-headed sometimes, but she knows how to stand her ground, I'll give her that."

Remembering all the times she didn't fall for his charms, the interviewer nodded. Truth was he liked the challenge of trying to get her to lower her guard.

"Do you want to know anything else?" Stephen's question shook him out of his reverie, though he found himself rubbing his fingers together as if in anticipation of the next time he had her alone.

"No, nothing else. Thanks for you time."

"What's all this for, anyway? You aren't crazy enough to think you love her, are you?"

His silence was the answer. Stephen laughed. "Hell, buddy, you're better off loving an asp. Unless you can break that iron will of hers, she'll turn you into her lapdog. Actually, come to think of it, she needs someone to put her in her place." He laughed again, though this time there was a nasty edge to it. "Don't spare the rod. Do what you have to. Reed didn't, now look at him."

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Chapter 70: Acceleration

I remember the one night when I looked up at the black, starless sky behind the strip mall on the mountain and, for the first time, I saw nothing itself. It was infinity, a black hole, space itself, hovering above the shopping mecca. Eternity above juxtaposed with immediate gratification below. Air versus cement. I wondered at it for a moment, then spoke aloud, voicing the idea of soaring into the nothingness.

My friend, a logical type of girl, scoffed. I dropped the topic. At fourteen, I wasn't brave enough to argue or how to even sound the ideas that were beginning to occur to me and pull me onto other planes of thought and perception. I didn't know how to explain to her what I could barely articulate to myself: that I could see both sides to the edge blackness and its mystery, that I could see -- could sense -- the allure and the aversion.

At fourteen, you're too busy discovering boys and acne to think about the way something so abstract can both repel and attract. At fourteen, the concrete is more important and if admitting to thinking differently means that your friends look at you differently... well, you learn to keep certain thoughts to yourself.

I'm not fourteen anymore. Sometimes I dream of being in the air. Not of flying, exactly, more like being catapulted. The arching up into the blue void, a trajectory of hundred of feet... then of reaching the apex and beginning the descent. I wake when the feeling of falling hits my stomach. Sometimes, depending on the type of fall, I wake with my heart pounding in my chest. Such dreams fascinate me. They're safe, yet not. They're filled with danger or something close to it, but no harm ever really comes in the end. When I wake, I'm whole and untouched. It's two sides to existance, my dreams coming from the edge of the unconscious and reminding me of my fascination with the dark unknown.

When I was a child, I sought that rush that comes with being on the edge of disaster by climbing trees higher then anyone else would dare. I was the one who -- just for kicks -- figured out how to get onto the rooftops of our parents' and neighbors' houses. I was the one who was more then willing to go into the darker recesses of the woods without thought of who I was with. When my friends and I rode our bikes though the neighborhood, I was the one who didn't bother with breaking as we went down the giant hills. Even now I seek the rush, this time in the form of tearing along back country roads, pushing both the speed limit and good sense. Like the fine line of pleasure and pain, where one ends and the other beings, when you aren't sure quite which side is which and the sensations themselves drug you until heat rushes through you and wakes the basest of needs, fear has its own edge. It comes in knowing what can happen and what might. As I press the accelerator and watch the needle rocket to fifty then sixty, I know that I'm signing my own death certificate should a deer step out or another car come along. It's no different then climbing those ancient pine trees or getting too familiar with those neighborhood boys. Perhaps it's no different then starving myself.

I can handle it. I'm still in control.

Liar.







Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Chapter 69: Dreaming

I remember when we worked together, the day I was sitting at the computer and I looked up as he put something into the overhead cupboard, and his eyes met mine and told me everything.

And the other night I dreamed that our positions were reversed, that he were sitting and I was standing, and that I put my hand on his shoulder.  And he looked up at me, and his eyes met mine and told me everything.

The strangest part was his reaction.  He fell to his knees in front of me and wrapped his arms around me, leaning his head against my legs.  He held on so tightly.  And I looked at the person with me, who it was I don't know, and asked "can I keep him?"

I didn't get an answer. 

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Chapter 68: Wanting

What is want, anyway? What is the nature of wanting? Perhaps, a little voice whispers, I'm just using him and our happy hours for what I want at home and do not feel that I'm getting. Perhaps I am lying to myself about a lot of things. I really don't know.

Perhaps these questions come only because I know that he's leaving soon and fear hurting him somehow, either by tying up those loose ends or cutting the strings completely.  I don't think there is a way to not hurt one of us.

I do want him. I want his attention. I want to keep feeling that wonderful way he makes me feel when we talk -- as if I'm the center of his world. Perhaps it is my ego driving all of this: after all, how easy one becomes invisible at home sometimes! I want to be able to touch if I want to touch, or to not touch if I don't want to touch. I want to make him laugh. I want to laugh with him. Physically, there's want as well... though that's the easiest to squelch down and try to ignore. It's the emotional wants that I can't pretend away.

I've changed so much since last year, in ways that even I can't fully understand. I've begun to yell more, to expect more from others, to demand perfection less.  I've quit being my mother in that I have to make everything better. Solve your own damn problems. I'm no longer satisfied with the attention I am getting, no longer as willing to explain away what I feel I'm missing. We fight a little more often because I'm no longer the clinging, frightened woman he first knew. He no longer needs to take care of me as he once did. It throws him off, this headstrong female who says "no" more often and who won't accept traits I once willingly ignored.

My... my what? my passions? my affair? my games?... my friendship with Greyson began long ago. Does that matter?

After everything I knew fell apart and after I changed. So, yes, we started down this path of our own making, heedless of everything -- including the rules that insist what begins must have a middle as well as an ending, a resolution. I won't accept a resolution that costs us everything, even each other. The truth is that I'd end up resenting Greyson in the end, hating him -- and it doesn't matter how rational or irrational it is.

My wants are irrational to begin with. I am discovering more then even Greyson knows. Do you know I've only willingly been with one man, ever? Only one, my boyfriend. Before it was guilt and manipulation and starvation. Before that, just boys... as clueless as I was and willing to accept my lead in everything. Then an episode in the hotel, pressed against the wall, tasting nothing but disinterest. That time, I used my knee when he didn't let up.

I never dated boys -- or men -- like Greyson.  I never dated the "good" boys in town.  I wanted the "bad" boys.  My first boyfriend was in a gang, moved up here by his mother to escape that life.  There were no gangs in my hometown, so the thug he could have been never materialized.  If Greysonhad been in my high school, he never would have looked twice at me.  I was the one on the fringes, who blended into the walls, who disappeared.


Friday, May 04, 2018

Chapter 67: Speaking for the dead

Dead men tell no tales, they say.  But those who survive them do.  We're the ones who write history, who craft folk heroes and weave uplifting narratives.  The dead are our puppets.  We can manipulate their memories at will.  Sinners become saints.  Humans become gods.  The exalted are cast out into the mud and filth.

With Liam's death, I became the keeper of tales.  It was left to me to frame our story, and I did.  It was easy.  The outline was there.  I simply fleshed it out.

We never had an affair, though not for a lack of his trying.  Of course we were often together, it was the nature of the job.  Once I realized his intentions, I stopped working alone with him.  That's where our arguments came from, you know.  He never accepted that I said no to him. Well of course he told his friends we were screwing.  His ego would never accept less.  

Not everyone believes me, but that's to be expected.  So then I tell them the truth.

He was trying to get close to me because he knew I had evidence of his crimes.  He was using me. I'm so embarrassed that he got as much as he did before I caught on.  I ended it when I found out. It never occurred to me that someone so... so gentlemanly, so educated... I'm sorry.  I'm really just so angry about it.  He lied to me.  

It's true.  Truer, anyway.

Perception is reality.  If I tell my story enough, it will become not only my reality but everyone else's.  It will give everyone a way to understand how someone so together would do what he did.  If I wanted, I could tell them how sweet he was to me.  It would make him even more human.

One night when I was in Cleveland for a meeting, he drove up to surprise me.  When I got back to the hotel after a long day, he was waiting in the lobby with bag that held a small almond torte and a bottle of wine.  We spent the night watching old movies and cuddling. We fell asleep in each other's arms.  When we woke up, we were both stiff and sore from sleeping so awkwardly.  We laughed about it, though, and agreed that it was wonderful to be that close, so it was worth the aches and pains.  

That's the man I want to remember.  But sharing that side of him is not something I'm ready to do because if I start to share those moments, I lose them.  Someone can say that he was manipulating me.   Worse, someone might say he did that with her as well.  So for now, if someone asks, yes, he did drive to Cleveland that one time.

We ran into each other in the lobby and had a bite at the hotel's restaurant.  By then I was getting suspicious, so I pleaded a headache and went to my room alone.  

In time, people will forget anyway.  They'll move on to new scandals and new affairs.  Whatever Liam and Meredith did or didn't do will become old news, part of the past that few will want to dig up because of the scandal involved.  Who knows, perhaps a new narrative will evolve.  It's hard to say what direction gossip will take as memory fades.






Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Chapter 66: Somedays nothing happens

There is nothing to write today. I'm on a even keel -- unless you count the headache that I woke up with. It's the sort that makes your teeth hurt. I'm pretty useless at the keyboard and am doing a great still-life impression. Writer in Repose. Sitting and staring and wishing my stomach would stop churning and my head would stop aching. I must have had more than I thought.

I have to sit here until about three today, and I have to look like I'm accomplishing something. I already know that keeping myself awake doesn't count as "accomplishing something," so I guess my next trick will be to look productive when I'm not.

Don't tell Rory.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Chapter 65: Playing with time

Surely, dear readers, you can guess that this blog doesn't work in real time. Surely you have guessed that, by now, things are different. He's returned to his life, the one that's a thousand miles away. We're sorting out our separate lives and emotions. We haven't done anything since that day.

We keep in touch via e-mail and on-line chats. When he comes in to town, we try to see each other... but responsibilities too often interfere.

At night, in my private little two-bedroom house, I log onto the computer and wait, hoping that he'll be there. We talk about the day, about our lives. It's really quite superficial. We've yet to go beyond that, really, unless you count a few remarks so heated that publishing would bring the censors upon us.

Out of sight, out of mind.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Which one is it? And, as I once remarked eons ago: is our attraction based on geography? Now that we're miles apart, will things cool down? Are they cooling down? Do I want them to? Does he?

Apart from him, I can think clearly and rationally. Away from the temptation, it's easy to say "enough, wait, take your time. "

Then the world smacks us, up-ends everything we believed... and we find ourselves sharing intimacies once again, seeking comfort that others should be giving us.

Realities are beginning to intrude. Different deadlines and responsibilities hinder those moments to steal away.

Right now, having been apart for too many weeks, I can honestly say that I want first just to be with him, my friend, to talk and to laugh. I want to be able to hold his hand, peck him on the cheek... not as a lover or with complications of lust, but as my friend, as someone I care about.

Am I lying to myself when I say that I believe that I can separate my desire from our friendship? Is it a silly dream to say that I would rather go on as nothing but friends if to hope for more would mean that even the friendship would end? Today in the car, listening to the CD he made for me eons ago, I made that decision.

When I think about our approaches to this us that we created, I imagine a pool of water, perhaps a hot tub or a swimming pool. Whatever. It's immaterial, really. What's important is that I'm fully immersed, comfortable and confident. I got in only after I knew exactly what I was getting into. I knew the depth and the temperature; I knew the risks and the rewards.

He, however, is not quite as comfortable as I am. He's half-in and half-out, easing in and pausing. Sometimes I imagine him sliding all the way into the water, only to pull back out... he wasn't as ready as I was, believe it or not, and he is still trying to find some degree of comfort with something that he never saw as realistic until recently. While it's tempting to just grab him by the feet and yank him in, I won't.

Before that night, I had two dreams about him. In the first, he kissed me. It was long and lingering and incredible. In the second, I initiated the kiss -- and left him wracked with guilt. Being someone who believes in the unconscious and that there is meaning to be found within dreams, I can't pull him in. He needs to make that decision. And, truthfully, whatever that decision is, I can respect it.

Some time ago, long before that night, I shocked him (I suspect) with the admission that I would indeed go to bed with him. While I jokingly remarked that I did reserve the right to change my mind, I think we both know that once I make my mind up it will take quite a bit to change it. My qualifications for this to happen are -- were -- simple enough: I simply made myself a promise that, if the moment was there, I would take it.

The decision, interestingly enough, came at a time when Reed and I were getting along quite well. It wasn't made in retaliation, nor was it made out of lonliness. It was made because I have come to realize that I'm human.

It's been so long, since she felt that way.
It's been so long, since she felt anything...

He woke me up, so to speak. Pulled me back and made me remember that I'm a woman -- not just someone whose job is to take care of everyone else. For the first time, ever, I actually believe that I'm sexy, desirable. I don't want to go back to being asleep and numb.

That night, I took the long way home, driving through several backroads just for the sake of buying time. When I give myself to him, should that chance ever come again, it will be because the time is right. Yes, I know, it might just be a few years. It might be a decade. I'm willing to wait.

Do I sound like a stalker? Like some crazed slut who's sharpening her knives and shining her stockpot in preparation for bunny stew? I'm not. I'm not anything of the sort. I'm perfectly happy being ignored at times. And if he and I never act on what we started, I'll live. My life revolves around much more then seeking that perfect night in bed, and I have no desire to be caught up in a full-fledged affair at this point in my life.

Ever.

A contradiction? Yes, I suppose. Forgive me, though. My nature allows it quite easily. I'm able to be either friends or lovers just as I can be friends and lovers. I can hate while I love, scorn while I admire, pretend while I mean it, and submit while I control. This blog is a study in contradictions, a collision of fact and fiction. Daydreams and realities, acted out on this page, as I struggle to understand why and what and how. We still don't know the answers. I'm not even sure we know the questions.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Chapter 64: Just one little pill

I understand that anorexia and bulimia are turning up in women over 30. Small shock there. We don't outgrow our problems, readers. We take them with us. They latch on for the ride, joining us as we "grow into ourselves" and "re-invent" what it means to be over 29. Being over the hill doesn't mean squat to our individual angsts anymore. The little buggers just buckle-up and hang on tighter.

We become more adept at hiding our problems, swallowing them instead of food. We are too busy to eat, we say, because we have so much to do -- sandwiched as we are between children and parents or between careers and home. No one notices anyway. It's "obvious" to everyone that we're stressed out and too busy, so if we drop a few pounds no one really says anything because we'll "put it back on when everything is over."

No one notices the pills we quietly pop or the way our pants hang more then they should. Of course, if our breasts deflate from the lack of body fat, well, someone might start to note... but the good news is that it's nothing a push-up bra can't fix. Trust me.

I'm disgusted today, readers. Frustrated. I'm waging a war, thinking that maybe, just maybe, one little pill doesn't really hurt. I'm starting to justify it in my mind, to think of perfectly reasonable excuses.

Again.

A trip to a legit website on eating disorders resulted in my being labeled "healthy." I'm only guilty of popping pills.  Green tea ones, designed to help boost my metabolism "naturally." I don't fit the other criteria.

I didn't fit anywhere, actually. I don't obsess about calories, nor do I exercise compulsively. I don't binge and purge, nor do I starve.

Deep down, it's really not that. I think it's more about being seen. You know, when I was with Reed, I left those damned pills out on the bathroom counter, right there for the world to see. No one did. When I dropped to barely a size six, no one said a word because it was chalked up to stress.

If I'm this irate, and I'm a generally stable woman, I hate to think about how others react. It interested in me how one criterion was "wants to be caught." The more I think about it, the more I suspect I did want caught. Do?

But, really, what could a person say to me? "Hey, I noticed you're looking a bit skeletal these days." If I denied it, I would have forced the person to either confront me or drop it.

You know it's all about control, of course. Whatever we women can't control gets channeled into -- onto -- our dinner plates.

C'est la via, readers. Eat up while you can.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Chapter 63: The Hotel Room

I prefer the darkness and the shadows. He saw me today, saw my body for all its nothingness. Hotels are unfriendly to bodies like mine, as their lighting tells true tales rather then the falsehoods that tumble from my lips.

But he said nothing, just stared for a moment. I thought he was drinking me in and savoring, a luxury we rarely had our first time around. No. He was counting my ribs. Studying the hollows that didn't exist the last time we tangled.

Greyson's direct, so he didn't bother with ruses or segues. "How much do you weigh?"

When I shrugged, he picked up my discarded jeans from the floor and checked the tag. Size six.

"You were a ten when we worked together."

What could I say? Nothing. "Please give those to me," and I held my hand out. Putting them on compounded everything. You see, they're too big for me.

And so we're back to control. Or we were. It's different this time. Once it was about showing the world that I had it together and proving to that boy in college that he hadn't ruined me. Once it was about Reed and the powerlessness I felt over our relationship.

"Was this from Liam or from me?"

I glared at him, then turned my back to put the rest of my clothes on.

"Who is he this time?"

I took my time answering him. "No one made me this way. I did it myself. I didn't like gaining that weight back." My voice was measured, careful. I didn't want to start screaming. "He's fiction. A mirage."

"What's his name?"

My blood was starting to boil then. Why was he picking at something he'd so long ignored? He hadn't bothered to wonder about anything else, that's for sure. "You have no claim on me." I wasn't going to make this easy.

When two people tangle, there are things that sit in the middle of the room that need to be addressed but simply aren't pleasant topics. The physical tangles become verbal dances, implications and hints, passive-aggressive comments, and silences.

He said nothing, studying me again. "I'm not sure what my point is, actually."

"Let me know when you do. I'm not going to play games, anymore. You either want me or you don't. You either come to me freely, or don't come to me at all."

"You've changed."

"I know."

"I'm not playing games. You know that."

I studied him now, taking in the man I considered a lover. He never did play games with me. Never like Liam. What I saw was what I got. Was he enough? What was I doing here anyway? I'm the one who jumped him. I have no interest in being responsible tonight. I have no interest in you being responsible. I seduced him.

What do you want tonight?
I don't know, exactly. Do you?
Not really. 
I bought a new bra. Just for you.
That was all he needed, really. Can I see it?

"I know you aren't playing games," I finally said, taking a seat on the end of the bed.

Do you like it?
I love it.

Years of intimacy made it easy for me to know which buttons to push. And when we were finished, he looked at me with wonder... and perhaps some distrust. "Why are you with me again?"

And I scrambled to tell as much of the truth as I could. "I wanted you." We talked once about retaliatory sex, fucking one as revenge on another. While I was with Reed, I guarded myself against it, never wanting to lay a man to "prove" something to Reed. I never wanted to use any man as a pawn in my quickly-souring relationship.

"Why were you so bold the other night? Why are you with me this morning?"

What was the truth? That I was still angry? That Reed's refusal to even try to save our relationship continued to sting. That Liam's exploitation hurt even worse?  Am I that disposable to men?

What made me come on to him like that? It took all of my strength to keep my expression calm and my voice silent. What made me want him? Why, to see if I could have him. To see if I could manipulate and use him. To find out if all of his talk about honor and doing what's right for him and for me could be overridden with a well-placed kiss and knowledge of a $60 piece of lace.

"Well?"

I wanted to know if I could be my mother, of course. I wanted to know what it's like to play games in a car and if I could moan on cue like she could. I want to know if you see me or see the fantasy.

"Meredith?"

I shook my head. "I don't know. I missed you and wanted you. Isn't that enough?"

"Not really."

Touch me, I wanted to say. Hold me again. Don't sit on the far end of the bed and talk to me so distantly. Don't look at me like I am what I keep trying to be.

Maybe if he held me, I could tell him everything. Maybe he's understand, too. I like to think he would. He knows what I went through over the last few years.

"What do you want me to tell you?" My voice was thick. I was almost literally choking on everything I didn't say about being lonely and angry and feeling used.

"Let's start with the easy part," and then he was holding me, moving behind me and wrapping his arms around, resting his head on my shoulder and kissing my ear. "You stop taking those diet pills. I want a woman who isn't, as you once said, sharp angles and corners. I need a woman who has those curves I fell in love with."

That was the problem, of course.
He didn't love me.

But who am I to say anything about that? It's not like I love him.