"The state of being no longer used or practiced."
Can you please just do the simplest thing? No need to dress it up with confusion, he said.
She thought, Why can’t he see me. Why does he think I am so incapable. And then she remembered she was not beautiful any more and the successful career she once had had faded away, forfeited to raise her child, relegated to second place. She remembered that she must look at herself with his eyes, and from his point of view, and from there, she was nothing — neither sexually desirable nor powerful — and as such he imagined she was incapable of accomplishing the smallest of acts.
He reprimanded her as if she were a child. His attitude, the way he tilted his chin up, looked down his nose, sat with steely confidence. He didn’t intend to belittle her; it wasn’t conscious. He didn’t need to have any thoughts about her. He had the advantage. He was a man and he was her boss. They were the same age, and one could even argue that their life experiences were equal, neither one superior to the other, though his life garnered accolades and money, while hers were accomplishments of generosity and caring, valueless in monetary terms, in life terms acts simply expected of a woman.
She slouched slightly. In her youth, she was boldly beautiful, striking it was said, and always fearless in front of men, but that was gone now. Her eyelids and chin had softened and fallen. Her skin was thin and showed the color of her blood below, bags hung under her eyes, puffy and lined. Her hair had grayed. It was the same of him but his wrinkles and gray hairs added distinction, his virility was unquestioned. In fact, he had a second wife, much younger than his first. He had an uninterrupted career, flourishing, and the admiration his peers.
Her gaze drifted along the blond wood conference table up his narrow chest and shoulders to his face, smug in its sense of dismay with what he perceived as her deficiencies. She focused on the window at his back, the view of high rises, a cruise ship, water below, the potted plant of heather on the balcony. The heather looked dead but it would come back to life in a few months, purple would dance over its dark branches and reach toward a distant sun.
A gentle rain fell outside.
Are you listening to me?
Strangely a large bee, perhaps the queen, flew over the balcony’s stone railing and circled the twisted, brittle heather branches. It circled twice then flew rapidly toward the window. The woman started when it hit the glass, afraid for its life. But it kept circling the heather, and smashing into the glass.
What is going on? asked the man sternly. An ugly frown spread across his face like he’d swallowed cat food.
The bee, she said. Look at the bee. He grumbled, and didn’t turn.
She took the glass of water she brought for herself when she got one for him, and turned the glass in her hand. Bastard, she thought. Horrible man.
She picked up the glass and hurled the water at his face. It splashed across his frown, down his expensive clothes. She walked to the balcony door, walked the length of the balcony to the heather plant, gently grasp the bee in her hand and they flew away.
Not really a Biography
I have always been inclined to move forward, roll the stone, down, and often up, hills. I've tried to write through it all. Everything on this blog is written by me.