Sunday, November 13, 2011

She Wants A Job

They moved across the country to San Francisco to "start over" and "turn the page". Her husband had been swallowed up in the banking malaise following the 2008 financial crash. His bank got caught up in the preceding bubble fever and suddenly he found himself knee deep in "loss recovery" issues, enough to last a lifetime. He had to get out. Union Bank was the answer for him.

In her eyes, her husband was purifying himself, escaping the dirty money of "scandalous banks". His life had purpose, power and priority. She'd always been the dutifully gullible "good girl" - a moniker she greatly cherished - and swallowed every lie ever told her. She'd been used as a wife, a daughter and yes, even as a mother of two children recently flown from the nest. That's when the slow, unpluggable drip of panic began.

She felt caught in the raging river current of life headed for a cliff. Her eyes could only get wider as she was pulled to her fate by Nature's unreasoning and unhearing force. Given pause for the first time in her life, she realized the anger in her decisions, of how she furiously and fanatically shut out any word of self-worth - and therefore any inconvenient need that might need to be addressed. (A faithful leftist, she insisted everyone need watch "An Inconvenient Truth" to attain salvation. But it was her truths that needed hearing.)

"Help me!"

The good girl had gotten her college degree in useless English, but pretending to have a career had proven too much, instead settling into the role of dutiful housewife after a few meaningless receptionist jobs. Now, after twenty years of age and fifty pounds of fat she wanted a job. It would prove her first peek into the door of reality since the day she said, "I do."

She didn't realize her husband's "purification" was a complete sham, that the business of money is always dirty. She only knew she felt left behind now she lacked the distractions and vicariousness of her day-to-day motherly duties. The demons won't allow her to sit idly at home! Pitchforks in hand, they laughed as they pushed her into the pit of her own making.

Publishing her meager and humiliating résumé online continued her long tradition of falseness of desire. What truly puzzled - and deeply perturbed - her was the fact that doing this "good thing" only increased her guilt, not lessened it as she had supposed. First there's the guilt of doing nothing and now there's the guilt of doing something! Dear God, have You no mercy? She recalled the words she read of a child molester who told the police he "just wanted to die."

"No, no...don't let that be me. It can't be!"

"Keep your hands off me you damned, dirty hippies!"

The demons hunted her in ruthless and obliging disdain. So she obliged them by this walk of denigration. She had her argument down pat: getting a job could only be a good thing. She had to feel useful after a lifetime of rot. What she refused to admit - at any and all costs - was that she had rotted. People who make righteous decisions don't end up mired in swamps of misery. The trick was to pretend she'd been on the mark all along, get a job based on that assumption and come out smelling like a rose.

But how can a weed smell like a rose?

Lying had always worked before. But that had been with her firmly at the reins, veering off any course that brought her into the light of day. Putting herself at the mercy of the cold, objective eye of the marketplace was another story. Twenty years ago she had a svelte figure and the energy and blind optimism of youth. Those charms were long gone. But to be good and dutiful she must pretend otherwise.

With a secret hatred of his own career, her husband faithfully encouraged her even as his own inner business eye told him she had no chance and she'd only be making a fool of herself. Without admitting that to himself, that was exactly what he wanted. What better way to make her more dependent on him? And he could push her off the cliff all in the name of helping her! He too suspected what would happen if she finally threw off her demons: The End. "They’re going to laugh in her face and she'll coming running back to me. Same old story since the day I broke her. Don't you ever again think you're too good for me, bitch!"

"Ain't such hot stuff now, eh bitch?"

Just as the wars of the world increased, also escalated her battles within. She hated pretending she had any self-belief. The postings, the interviews with employment agencies, the reporting back to her husband afterwards crucified her in torment and yet she could not say a word. Her human voice told her to stop. Stop hurting yourself. Stop pretending. Stop bending yourself to the breaking point. But as always the same hound of fear reared its gnarling teeth, freezing her: what explanation could she defend? Stopping now she'd sound a lazy, selfish, pathetic loser.

Her husband noticed the dark circles under eyes in the early morning sun. "Honey, look, if this job search is causing you this much stress you can just quit," urged the sincere and caring spouse.

He'd slyly used the word "quit" to trap her regardless of her answer. Either she had to admit she was a quitter who was nothing without him or she had to carry on the unsustainable beating of the hunt. As expected, she said she was doing fine and eager to find that right job. He hugged her and smirked his way to work. Devastated by her own betrayal, she spat at herself when seeing her image in the bathroom mirror - and then hurriedly wiped it off. She coughed in exhaustion as she sunk to the floor.

In her core she knew her life had meaning and purpose. She'd never doubted that and it had carried her through her youth like the stars in the sky. She never bothered to define it, she'd know it when she saw it. Not only that, it would be a flower among flowers, sparkling with beauty that shines across the universe. Everyone would see it and be proud she had nurtured such a glowing gift. She dreamed of the accolades without end but she wouldn't do it for the praise. She'd do it to fulfill her contract with life.

How much does this job pay?

But to say now she wanted "something dreamy, something artsy, something timeless" like when she was a bright eyed teenager was a step too far too reach. Eyes would roll and if anything were said it would be for her to "grow up" - knowing what they really meant was to "give up". She couldn't go forward, she couldn't go back. What a horrible, horrible mess she'd made of her life. If only anyone knew! If only anyone could know.

[A job could have at least given her some tangential feeling of usefulness, she remembered that from before. But she'd been far too starved over the years for that to work now. Furthermore, she completely refused to admit her resentment against her husband whose industry had created the dire circumstances for employment she now faced. Being forced to expose her hidden life was her worst nightmare - especially to eyes young and fearless like she once had. Nobody wanted her.

At last, the humiliating silence broke her. She was useless shit. There had been a time when she had orgasmed when called a useless shit - and harvest time had come. How very bitter its taste. She'd been hiding for all these years. Why stop now? But her illusions of hope had disappeared like gold dust in a high wind. How could she ever gather it back? The prison door of fear clanged shut, her decades long crime spree come to an end.]

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