Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Chapter 52: Personal Narratives

We all have our own narratives.  We all frame our stories a certain way.  Design them and casting ourselves as the stars.  The world revolves around us.  People worry about our opinions.  About our wants and needs.  That's what we tell ourselves, anyway.

There's nothing wrong with it.  Nothing abnormal.  It's all quite human, actually.  We need to create a schema that works for us, something into which we can assimilate everything that the world hurls at us and try to make sense of it.  Sometimes it works well.  Sometimes not so well.  

Liam's dead.

Five months ago, he realized that his narrative no longer worked for him so he took a running leap from the roof of his very expensive condo and landed on Liberty Avenue with a very unceremonious splat.  He ran out of ways to spin what he was doing.  It turned out that the documents from the Fox Project implicated him after all.  

The days after were a blur, as the stereotyped reaction goes, as I tried to understand the man that he was rather than the man I thought him to be.  

I'd let him kiss me.  Let him convince me that his greatest fear was that I'd be taken down by the files I had.  He didn't want me to turn them over to anyone.  He wanted me to hold onto them and do nothing.  "For now," he always said.  

In my narrative, he loved me and was trying to protect me.  In his, I was an afterthought.  

Our narratives can get away from us sometimes.  We can lose control over things that go unsaid and others can fill in the blanks, assigning us roles we have no intention of playing.

After Liam's suicide, I fell into another's narrative.   It's an interesting one, though I don't know where it's taking me quite yet.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Chapter 51: Undone

He re-buttoned my shirt when we were finished. I don't even know how to explain the intimacy of such an act.

Any man can undress a woman. So long as he has the skill, he can seduce her right out of her clothes. She's left, then, when it's over, to re-dress and right herself. Re-do what was undone, all without his help. Prostitutes to wives cover themselves when the men are finished. Some might lie about first, indolent and sated, but even they draw a sheet up over their breasts... or so says Hollywood. We're taught to cover what the men uncovered, as if our nude bodies would offend once their purpose were past.

He re-buttoned my blouse. I didn't ask; such a thing never crossed my mind. Why would it? I've been covering myself since the first time, and no one else ever offered otherwise.

Of everything else that transpired, somehow that's was the most delicate of moments, the most intimate. Tender. Gentle. Soft.

Those are the intimacies I ought not enjoy. They're the ones that lead to thoughts of things I'm not even sure I have let alone want sometimes.

He buttoned my blouse. Somewhere an author mused over the word button and how it came to suggest undone and undoing, two words that are tied to closely to sex and lust. He was my undoing. He undid me. Took me apart then put me together. For all appearance's sake, re-assembled just the same. I went back to work and no one was the wiser. Though for as buttoned-up as I was, I felt undone for the rest of the day. Sitting in meetings, talking to clients... I was undone. Un-buttoned and offered to my lover just a few hours before, now wondering what they'd think if they knew that the office's ice princess -- yes, I knew about the nickname -- had spent the morning coming un-done, melting you might say, in broad daylight in the backseat of a car.

Un-button, undo, unleash. Release. Free. Open. Uncage and unchain. The scene from Their Eyes Were Watching God comes to me, where Janie lets her hair down -- undoes it -- when her husband passes.  When she re-does it, tying it under her bandana, she does so because she chooses to, not because he always commanded her. Un-doing on purpose; re-doing by choice. Throwing the shutters open and heralding the man's death, a trumpeting cry of freedom. Secret, though. No one would approve otherwise.