Okay. So my last post was peevish and petty. But let’s start over with this one.
It’s a question.
The presentation of a dilemma.
I’ve been trying to write it for several days, but it keeps faltering. So, let me get straight at it, without further ado.
I have a walking-partner who happens to be a classmate from school. We weren’t friends at all way back then. The only thing we shared was a propensity for being painfully blunt, and squeaky ‘good’ [uggg]. He was an ever-so-slightly prissy boy, and I was an ever-so-overt Amazon girl. The other thing we shared was a most embarrassing experience.
We were in the 12th grade, at that renunciatory stage in school-life when you must behave like an ascetic chasing the illusory after-life of a fearsome board-exam. Our prefect ties had just come off a week ago, the baton of upholding moral conduct had been passed on with ceremony. Perhaps it was the relief of stepping off the pedestal, or a certain recklessness that comes with having tasted power that drove us to expand our experiential horizon right then, in one last fling before it was all over…
To cut a long story short, the boy and I, along with two other 12th graders were caught trying to ‘bunk’ school. Two days of suspension, and a compulsory meeting-between-parents-&-principal later we were back and everything died down soon enough – the excitement, admiring glances from the bad-boys of junior school, hushed whispers in the corridor, the staff room etc. But that’s not what embarrassed us.
It was the clumsy blustering-ness of it. We could’ve easily gotten away with it. But that’s what happens when four goody-two-shoes try to be cool. We walked out of school without our bags in the last period, and were caught trying to re-enter four minutes before the last bell rang. Four geeky ex-prefects hanging their heads in a perennially frozen frame that screams LOSERS. Throw in a few angry acne spots, un-plucked eyebrows, unshaved face-fuzz and you have the picture.
Hmm. Well. This was a backgrounder on the walking-partner and I. So you get a sense of who we were then.
Over the years Fate dealt Her hand. The boy went abroad, got more logical and rich with his electronics engineering education. He also learned to be Manly. The girl became more conscious of her outward girliness, but in her head she became more steely and Amazonian than ever.
In all his years abroad that were focussed on Ivy-league College, top job, high salary, green card, the boy had time to like only one girl. The girl went through a series of assorted men, learning many things about herself and the people around her, flitting in and out of jobs and job profiles, running high and running very low on money.
Then one day a baritone-voiced, firm hand shaking, America-returned professional looking man came and looked up the girl. She was thrilled to meet an old acquaintance and soon included him in her casual daily life.
People didn’t comment on the frequency with which she met him, because she was already seeing someone quite seriously, and there was a solid stability about it that was certainly not going to be threatened in anyone’s heads.
They went for walks in the morning quite often. Sometimes they went out for a drink or two, and an occasional film.
She never saw the boy as anything but an old acquaintance who’d become a casual, comfortable sort of friend.
Until one day, the girl found herself quite single again. Suddenly dynamics in people’s heads changed. The boy himself, who’s still quite unaware of the girl’s single status [she’s protected it very fiercely, ha ha] started giving her strange uncomfortable vibes. For him the mathematics of it is quite simple. I’m a man, you’re a woman, you spend time with me and seem to be at ease with the whole arrangement. I’m a settled, well-paid ‘good’ person, and there should be no reason why you shouldn’t want to follow the laws of nature by trying to at least explore this side of our relationship. Besides, you’re a woman with no fixed profession, you might consider needing me.
For others too the mathematics is plain and clear. He’s a man, she’s a single woman and they spend time together. QED. There must be something in it.
But. They forgot to ask me. PISSANTS.
He’s a sweet chap. And they are lovely well-meaning people. They’re my family after all. But hold on a minute here people, isn’t this unfair?
I mean what am I supposed to do about this? Stop meeting him; deprive myself of a walking partner and a general hang-around-bum friend? I won’t cry if I don’t meet him really, but why should these things have to be so cut and clear?
Nobody is saying anything. They just leave it in the air, thick and heavy for me to battle with. But why should I have to be subjected to this unnecessary kind of discomfort?