Thursday, January 15, 2009

Old Lady and Young Man

I shuffle around some chairs and a large rectangular wood dining room table. It's cramped in here, a small room full of big furniture and porcelain nicknacks and figurines. I approach the wall and look at myself critically in the mirror. I have a giant goiter on my neck. I am always surprised when I see how big it is, but somehow it doesn't seem to cause any problems other than its gruesome appearance. I wonder for the nth time why it has to be me that is afflicted with it.

I am an old lady with frizzy grey hair, a slightly hunched back, and am wearing a medium long white flowered dress and heavy cloth apron. My hair is pinned back, but some of the frizz in the front always escapes. I am too old to have much concern about my looks, but still I would feel a lot better if I could somehow get rid of that giant goiter. It is so big and ugly, there is no way to hide it, not with clothes nor with strategically placed hair, so much so that I have completely given up trying. I have learned to live with it and although I often wish it would one day miraculously go away, I don't hold out much hope that it actually will.

Later in the day, I am moving around the tiny kitchen with old yellowed linoleum that is curling up in the corners of the room. My young nephew is coming over. I can't wait to see him. I am cooking him a nice dinner to make him happy. His visit will be the highlight of my day.

[My viewpoint shifts to third party observer]

The doorbell rings and she answers it. In the doorway stands a tall hunched over young male with a baggy overcoat and a bad attitude. His hunched posture is not from physical problems but from lack of desire to be there. His face is average, neither handsome nor ugly, a bit of extra flesh around the mouth highlighting a sour downturned mouth. This man rarely smiles. He considers this lady to be old fashioned and impossibly clueless. She doesn't listen to him and she doesn't understand him. She lives in her own world which has nothing to do with reality or what he thinks is important. She disgusts him, the sight of that hideous goiter most of all, and he can't wait to get this visit over with and leave. Meanwhile, he will be sullen and unappreciative until he finally has an excuse to escape.

She on the other hand is happy he is there. She walks around elated to be able to serve him. After some time, she eventually notices that he is not talking much and seems unhappy. She works hard to be cheery so he will feel better. No matter how disrespectful and rude he becomes, she will never realize that he does not like her. Such ideas do not exist in her world. She will always have a list of excuses for him that make perfect sense in her fantasy world, and every time she breaks further from reality, his disdain for her will only grow. What she needs to do is see him for what he is, tell him straight, yell in his face, set limits and enforce them. Only then will he respect her. But she never will.

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