Conversations: Lessons Learned

I’m finally learning, Thanatos.

Learning what my dear?

All the lessons you’ve been teaching me over the years. I never realized they were there until I listened and now it all seems so clear.

I did not attempt to teach you.

Perhaps not intentionally but I’ve learned nonetheless.

And what is it that you’ve learned?

It is all about three things: image, strength and positivity. It doesn’t matter if you are good or bad, it doesn’t matter if you love or hate, it only matters if you project the right image, be strong in whatever you do and only reveal positive feelings even if it it is a lie.  If you are strong in whatever you do or at least appear strong and happy that is all that matters.  That is how the game is played.  Pretend to be strong even if you aren’t.  Be happy even when you don’t feel it. Project the right image in any situation.

That is not…

Being kind, being soft-hearted, showing fear and sorrow only leaves you alone.  It opens you up to abuse.  Being authentic and honest, feeling the pain and hurt that is this world means no one will love you, not long term.  People only love someone who is strong enough to withstand all the shit.  People only love someone who smiles despite boredom, despite depression, despite the rat-race behind gray cubicle walls or open office pits, despite the world burning and the wars raging and the debts piling higher than the savings in the banks. People only love someone who is strong enough to survive, to take care of themselves, who is positive all the time.

M, my dear, that is not…

I learned, Thanatos, I have.  I am a woman.  I am meant to be a beautiful object, desired and smiling, happy despite it all, to make others feel good, to help others forget the shit in this world, or their own private hell, I am meant to reflect only what they want.  I wear a costume designed to reflect both sex and strength.  Heels, the higher the better, so I appear like an Amazon while at the same time make it difficult for me to run.  It is the appearance of strength and power, the courage to be so damn tall, that matters.  My lips painted perfectly, stained a deep red, to stand out and hit that primal desire that says my lips are swollen with desire for you are more important than what my lips actually say.  It is the image, the projection of courage, of strength.  It allows me to be both victim and user, gives me the power to use the desire of others while portraying the definition of someone else’s desires.  I am their object to get what I want.  Both powerful and powerless.

M, listen to me, that is not why I desire you.

Oh, but it is my dear Thanatos, it is.  It is always what is wanted, in the end, to smile brightly as my body writhes for your pleasure, for his pleasure, for everyone’s pleasure.  It is the courage, you see, dear Thanatos.  The courage I’ve had.  To face death over and over. The strength to fight for the exit.  You confuse that courage with sadness, with emotions, with all the emotions that have raged within me all these years; the emotions I’ve tried to escape.  What the lesson is, really is, is simply to be strong enough to ignore emotions, the messy emotions, so others don’t have to feel them, see them, touch them.  Use my strength of survival to oppress the negative feelings, show only what is expected, play the game properly, the positivity game, and do it with enough conviction to appear authentic and I can have anything I want.  I can have love.  I can have someone protect me, fight for me, come to me whenever I want because I have the strength to see the reality while playing the game. 

M, my dear M, no.  I desire you because you see the reality and don’t play the game.  You feel it all and rejected being just another player in the game.  You’ve attempted to escape and find something different. 

She laughed, no, no, my dearest Thanatos, that is the mistake I’ve made all these years.  I’ve attempted to escape reality, I’ve attempted to become normal and a good player like all the rest, thinking it will stop all these dark emotions that swirl within me.  Now I see it clearly.  I can not escape.  I will not end these dark emotions.  I can only use them to fuel my way to becoming just another player that sees the game rules and moves around the board until the game ends.  In the meantime I will dress up however anyone wants, in whatever costume is required for the scene, and only show confidence, compliance, eagerness.  A smile, a positive attitude, saying all the platitudes with conviction, standing tall in my heels and showing strength.  It won’t matter if I am breaking inside, it won’t matter if there are pieces of me shattering like glass because it simply means those broken pieces will sparkle when the light hits.

 

♦♦

M, wow, you look different.

I do? How?

I don’t know, you look… happy? Definitely a new confidence about you.  I was so worried about you but clearly you were right, I didn’t need to worry, just look at you!

Thank you.  I am the same but I have changed.  I’m learning a few lessons, finally.

Conversations: Thanatos’ Mistake

You, my dear Thantos, made one fatal mistake
What is that, my dear M?
You showed me that I am important
How have I done that?
You can not release me from this pain, give me the death I desire, so there must be something of worth, a greater value, than this earthly veil reveals
What makes you think such silly thoughts?
If there was no truth to what I say you would release me, give me death, reap my soul as you, the god of death, are meant to do. Instead you continue to play with me which means I have something more than this life offers.
You are a foolish child.
Yet you do not deny my claims
I do not
I am your muse
You are
Which means if I can be the muse to the god of death than there is something more than what I see now
I can not deny your logic
You have made a mistake Thanatos
What mistake is that?
You have given me a purpose
What purpose is that
To find what is so valuable that the god of death will not reap.

Road

The dark road tunneled ahead of her, the headlights illuminating a few hundred feet, as she sped along listening to the static from the radio echo in her head.  The thoughts cascaded like cicadas in the summer heat, droning endlessly, singing to the only one who understood.

Where she was going she couldn’t say.  She could only say what she left behind.  Or, what she was running from, trying to leave behind, though deep down she knew it would follow, like luggage transported from one destination to another.  There was nowhere to run, no one to run to, no one to catch her.  No one to save her.  She knew that even as she pressed her foot on the gas pedal until she felt it hit the floorboards beneath.  There wasn’t enough speed, wasn’t enough road, wasn’t enough distance between her and the past.

“What the hell does that mean?”
“You can be aggressive as hell when you feel uncomfortable.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be a bitch.”
“I never said you were a bitch, just aggressive, there is a difference.”

She paced her kitchen reading the texts wondering what the hell it all meant.  Why would he tell her that just before a date she was already nervous about.  She had no idea she was like that.  She always tried to acquiesce, to do what others wanted, to appease and please yet she was aggressive as hell?  What did that even mean?

“I can’t change overnight.  I’m trying for fucks sake.”

She tried to breath but instead inhaled with a jagged stutter.  She felt her arms shaking as she held the wheel, pressed the gas pedal harder even though it was already to the floor, and tried to focus on the dark, endless road ahead despite the tears blurring her vision.  This was all familiar.  Not the road itself but the flight.  She flashback to the freedom, at seventeen, when she finally escaped hell; or so she believed then.  Back then she also hit the gas as hard as possible, fleeing up the road, leaving the house she grew up in as a distant memory in her rear-view.  She never returned even when her mother begged.  She never felt the pangs of nostalgia like her older brother wanting to visit the old pizza place and ice cream parlor.

Back then, when she fled, the roads started out familiar, she knew which way to turn, which way led north or south.  Eventually she lost track.  Eventually she simply drove, focused and unfocused, following wherever the road took her as long as it wasn’t back.  It didn’t matter if the sun or moon was shining, it only mattered that she moved, ran, at top speed, as if she could outrun her fear, her pain, her mind and all the secrets.

She carefully arranged the plates, the knife on the correct side, the forks and spoons in their proper place, as the Christmas tree glowed behind her.  A bottle of red breathing on the kitchen counter while the white chilled in the fridge and garlic wafted through the house.  She pressed her hand against her solar plexus as she glanced at the arrangement, hoping it was correct, praying the glasses were in the right place, wishing for small praise that she fulfilled expectations.

Standing in the kitchen, the heat turning her cheeks pink, she quietly downed a glass of wine and filled it again quickly.  She felt that numbness, the softening effects of the alcohol, like cotton behind her eyes, softening the tension in her shoulders and took a deep breath.

“The table is set.”
“I better check to make sure it’s done right,” her older brother said, giving one last stir to the risotto before removing it from the heat.

She felt light-headed from erratic breathing.  She heard the buzz from her phone.  She wanted to drive to him.  She wanted to be held, to be cared for, to be understood but she knew the reality.  It was all a fantasy, what she built up in her head, and he didn’t care the way she did.  He didn’t feel the way she did.

“Are you okay?  You’ve gone quiet.”  She glanced at the phone as she pressed the pedal harder despite it being pressed all the way down already and she let the darkness take her.