Monday, January 19, 2009

The Moral Despair

Marrying women
Do always love their marriage -
Sometimes their husbands.

Her mansion was no mere house but the Museum of Perfection, a fortress of imagery in the material world. Here, cleanliness was not next to God, it was God. Her roving eye forever sought the sin of any blemish and mercilessly eradicated it. In her mind specs of dust were as roaches and a misplaced item brought the chaos of hell. Her abode was a place of worship, a place to worship. She liked to call it the House of Inarguable Success. Its official motto: Life is what you make it.

Once satisfied all was in order, she'd have her fix. It was wrong - she knew it was wrong - but how wrong was it really? What did it matter to the world if she indulged herself in little moments like these? Melting into the couch, she dreamed once more of days of old, the Homecoming Queen admired by all. She had Dreams back then, beautiful dreams everyone admired. She was the cheerleader no one hated. Her jury of peers called her perfect without envy. Yes, I still am that person. Everyone loves Debby. And her eyes shut as she continued to mainline thoughts of perfection.

I want to be perfect. The foe of Languishing Doubts came to do battle but she was so perfect she let them win. Her nemesis, the Party Girl - fearlessly doing what she wanted - came mocking her inadequacies. She saw pictures of them kissing on stage, topless and without shame. How can anyone do that? She'd forsaken her own desires while heroes lived out theirs. Debby was such a liar, a bad girl! She craved to be the humiliated slut in a Steven Seagal movie. Be a man! Tell me I'm shit! She climaxed her thoughts with an orgasm of secret truth.

The real hell started when her nose fell off. It was during her morning makeup one day when boom! her nose fell right to the floor. Panicked and horrified, her trembling hands put it back in place but it would never be the same again. "If this shows, I'm dead. Everyone will see I'm falling apart." And her fraud life would be exposed (as if she could prevent that!). But the problem did not go away. Her thin head kept gradually swelling and swelling with no way to stop it. She never got over the inner shudder she felt when the little boy at the supermarket called her "Pumpkinhead!"

It's a little secret, just the Robinsons' affair.
Most of all you've got to hide it from the kids.

Miles away at the corporate headquarters of National Bank, Steve was mired in a meeting, his soul crying for escape. How much longer can I keep this up? His weighted soul had a dirty secret but one he must take to his grave. Yes, he knew he could be a banker and yes he knew he could make a fortune at it. What he never confessed was that he couldn't do it forever. Sooner or later it would drive him out of his mind to prostitute his imagination for dry numbers and dead figures. But promises were made and with a family at stake, there was no backing out now. Stomach pains caused him to shift in his chair...

Debby too wondered how long she could keep it up, waking from a daymare, her jaw sore from the clenching. He was back. The Boy With Fiery Dreams invaded her own dreams in irrepressible fashion. His words were always the same: "My dreams died because you lied." No! That can't be! You're making it up! You don't need me! Ages ago, a couple years after she married, she met the Fiery Boy and she was his fantasy. Meeting her, he said, changed his life forever. He'd waited his whole life to meet her. He knew her dreams of life without her ever speaking them. She blushed with a smile and covered her face when he told her he loved her - but she stayed true to her savior: silence.

Golden silence! - the one ring to bind them, the one ring to rule them all. If you just keep quiet, complain about only the insignificant or things outside your control, the illusion begets reality. She couldn't do anything real for herself now anyway, not with the kids. No way could she face the guilt of abandoning her motherly duties. Out of my hands! she replied to the voice of Boy With Fiery Dreams. Nothing comes between me and my children! fumed Debby in moral outrage.

Defiantly, she went to the mirror to adjust her nose. Not so bad after all. But terror struck again when she brushed back her hair. "My ear is loose!" She crumpled into a ball of shame and tears. "It never stops! It never stops! They'll call me a freak." To Debby, no worse fate existed. Broken, hysterical with fear, she repented. She said Yes to the Boy With Fiery Dreams - only he wasn't there to hear.

See the gods in their sunglasses,
For with their sex they are so classless.

She'd stripped herself of her choices, jailed by her silence. What to do now, now that it's too late? The catatonic creature that was Debby knew not. Slowly, she picked herself off the floor, her hand gripping a table of family photos. A thought struck her and Debby seized her latest portrait. Has it changed? Do they know? She examined her smile from all angles and to her great relief found it quite convincing. Maybe there's hope after all...

Coda: Years later, after endlessly keeping on "keeping on", the oldest child of Steve and Debby committed suicide. After the shock and the outrage passed, everyone asked why because they already knew. The boy believed he could never match the perfection of his parents' lies and thus they would never love him. In the note that ended the unbearable pain, he said he knew he was Unacceptable - and that he feared the reaper.

"God damn, life is hard."


No comments: