You used to be married to my man and no punishment goes deep enough for that. There are slide pictures of you in his collection and sometimes I watch them; your smiling, confident young face staring at me from some other time, the happiness in your eyes evident. He held the camera and you owned his love. I destroy the pictures of you giving birth to his child, the intimacy between the two of you being too much to bear.
I lose weight and I dress in my new leather boots, the restrained feeling they provide is liberating. I happen to meet you at the Library and it´s a moment of glee and spite. I´m beautiful and you´re old. The power could have shifted, but it doesn't. Your position is cemented in the reality of you being the first of everything; wife, mother, grown-up relationship - how can I ever fight that?
You were young together with him and your advantages cannot be underestimated. You know all of his friends, they´re your friends too. You bought a house together, all of you, in the seventies. I´ve heard the stories. People are only too willing to share them, waiting, watching for my reaction. I hurt visibly, you know, and I imagine my pain is exhilarating, sensational even.
That house, those memories; a spontaneous evening bonfire, someone playing the guitar, cheap red wine and his arm around your shoulders. No question about where you went from there - was that the night his seed found your egg and linked you together forever? The passion you shared manifesting itself in the creation of life. Sometimes I think I hate you more than I love him.
The condescending looks that say I´m too young are always present. The pity and the frowning faces that say his behaviour is despicable and embarrassing, taking a girl half his age to his bed, into the life of his child. And I never get to fit in, I never feel like a proper adult. It´s always like I´m borrowing the character of someone else, someone more worthy and knowledgeable. Someone real.
I have to meet you, obviously. There are events, gatherings, celebrations around that cursed child that cannot be ignored. And I play my part, someone´s part, any part that I think is appropriate. Over the years I become quite adept at it. I think you must hate me too, on some level, but you behave admirably and I have to applaud, there´s certainly nothing wrong with your confidence.
In the end I´m diminished. I can´t find it in my heart to forgive you and it occurs to me that I´m the one being punished. I know this, but it doesn´t change anything. I still wish you´d get cancer.
I´m A.S. I write fiction based on stuff I´ve experienced or imagined. Often I can´t remember what´s true and what´s fantasy, and sometimes I accidentally steal my friends´ memories. I prefer my characters somewhat broken. The idea of referring to myself in third person creeps me out. I live with Hello Kitty and Super Mario. I miss Manny Calavera.
Words I like: ´distinguished´, ´sprawled´ - mmm… use a British accent and taste them…
Words I don´t like: ´juxtaposition´ and ´womb´ - don´t try those.