Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Chapter 29: Survival

What if I watched you watching me?  That's what you're doing, isn't it?  Watching me.  Waiting to see how the poorly drawn Meredith shapes her life.   Or perhaps you're waiting to see how I end it.  After all, I'm here, alone.  I'm adrift.  Aimless.

I can leave this room and return to my life.  I can leave it and move.  I'm good at running, you know.  Marvelous.  Do it all the time.  I ran from my childhood, from Reed, I ran from Liam.  Are you watching and thinking I'm a train wreck?  I don't mind.  I am, you know.  How could I be anything but a disaster in progress?  What if I told you this experiment in living is failing?  Would you laugh and say, "no kidding"?  It's true.  I'm failing.  I'm not the woman I'm creating on the page.  I'm a different Meredith, one who plays with time, stretching and folding it, twisting it to suit my own purposes.  If I was me, truly me, I'd be quite a different lead in my story.  The reasons I'm not me, though, as quite simple.  Actually, it's only one reason.  And, dear readers, I have no doubt that many of you can relate to this reason.

It's survival.

Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Survival.  Who doesn't know what it's like to swallow her words and say the scripted ones instead?  Who smiles when she would rather scream?  For that matter, who screams when she would rather not but knows it makes him feel good?

You're a liar if you say you don't know what I'm talking about.

Survival tonight comes in the form of one Mr. Daniels.  Jack, to be exact.  He and I have a lovely relationship, just a single shot and I'm much, much braver.  So brave that I'll even hit "publish" when I finish.  I'll return to work tomorrow, look Liam in the eye, and turn away.

Perhaps I'm not so much the train wreck as he is.  That would be a switch.  The man is unstable, not the woman.  The man makes the woman less certain, less sure.  Perhaps, without a man, I will be certain and sure and able.  Perhaps men are a socially constructed crutch, designed for us to lean on, designed to give us the illusion of being able to stand on our own...


Then again, perhaps I created that crutch myself, building it with blueprints drafted from years of watching Dakota ply her trade to pay the bills.  Men as so easy, she said to me.  A smile, a slight tilt of the head, a skirt hemmed just an inch shorter.  Let them think that they're protecting you from the big bad wolf.  Let them live the knight in shining armor complex, Merrie.  They get off on the fantasy, so why not give it to them?  You make out in the end, so what harm is there in playing the little girl lost and clinging to them in the bedroom?  Play to their egos, to their weaknesses, and you can have exactly what you want.

My mistake -- I think -- was wanting the wrong thing.  I wanted to be my own person, to prove that I was as good as not dependent upon.  Silly me.  No wonder my relationships failed.  I was trying to be a person.  Looking around this apartment, though, I have to wonder if perhaps there wasn't some mercenary wisdom in her words.  After all, they get what they want, and I get what I want.  Stripped down to the basic level of mutual trade, when one gets what she wants by giving what he wants, it would seem to be nothing more than an economic transaction.  A bartering of goods and services.

Three shots in.  My typing is still clean.  I can still walk without swaying.  Time for bed.  

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