Bravery, desire

I should have been braver,” I said to Wim. “I should have been stronger. I ought not to have drunk so much. Look at me. I acted in cowardice. I’ve always been weak.”

Weakness is nothing that describes you, dear. You were alone and you did what you did to survive.”

I could have lived with him if I tried harder. He gave me a home, he gave me a bed. At the first sign of panic I became him, the him I feared the most. A tepid drunk is easy to control if your hands control the bottle. A mean-minded drunk will take your hands and use them against you to get what he needs. He never mourned. Did I ever tell you that? He never mourned.”

Mourning is different in different people. Some weep, some turn to stone. And some become blustery with their rage. They blame themselves–”

Who else could he blame? Me? I was a victim of it, not the cause.”

You almost gave him a child, and then you didn’t. That affects men in different ways. He looked for a way to get lost, but he didn’t know how to do that without pulling you along.”

So you’re defending him?”

For what he did? No. But he was blind, and so were you. You grieved differently, and separately.”

I can’t go back, Wim. I couldn’t go back even if given the choice. It was too hard. Too much to consider. Look at me.”

No. I won’t. That’s a feeble excuse, Charlotte. Don’t blame your misfortunes on how you look. Bravery isn’t something you wear on your skin, it’s something you carry. Resentments seep through the skin and make you harder and colder. You are what you are. Ugliness is in the mind.”

You make it sound simple. It’s a cloth that’s wrapped around me, every day. Always I was told how much my appearance diminished me. I married Jeremiah because there was no one else, and there would not be anyone else.”

What about Del? He wants you. He desires you.”

He’s so clumsy with his words. He’s lewd.”

But kind. He doesn’t know what words to use because he’s drawn to you.”

Drawn to me? You’re foolish, Wim. Childish. I’m the only woman who hasn’t denied his fumbling attempts. He’s vain and–”

And confident. He knows what he wants. There’s kindness underneath that crude surface. He could be a kind man, a loving man.”

That’s what I thought about Jeremiah.”

No. You know better. He took the first piece of candy that was offered to you. You didn’t know the sour underneath. You married a stranger because you thought you had to. But you know Delbert. Better than you ever knew Jeremiah. He doesn’t see the same thing you see when you glance in the mirror. He sees what’s under the skin.”

He sees what’s under my dress, be honest.”

Maybe. But he sees you. The bruises, the brokenness, the sorrow that lives inside.”

Does he see the madness, I wonder? The coldness? The anger? I’m doing him a favor by keeping him away.”

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Author: Steven Baird

Writer, amateur photographer, ad compositor and chicken herder.

6 thoughts on “Bravery, desire”

  1. wow. pretty powerful stuff here. i agree with writingwingsforyou…tough topic on all counts, drinking, losing a child, weakness and frailty and the way we each handle loss differently. really liked this…

    Liked by 1 person

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