KALEIDOSCOPE

“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel like this.”

She twirled around and flopped into a chair.  I wasn’t sure what to say.  What can one say after hearing the complete contents of a life?

“You don’t seem surprised.”  She lit a cigarette and exhaled.  The smoke shot out of her nose like a comet.  “Don’t you have anything to say?”

I really didn’t.  Speaking seemed out of context, like someone clapping before the end of a movement.  I shrugged and waved to our waitress.  Another drink was a better idea.

She deflated a bit and sank into the cushions.  “I thought that you, out of all the people I know, would be quick with a smartass remark.  You kinda disappoint me.”

That was the first time I was criticized for keeping mum.  “Well, if you insist,” I said, removing the swizzle stick from my glass.  It looked like a little sword.  “I have a hard time believing any of that bullshit.  You only think you’re oppressed.  No one really cares what you do… or have done for that matter.” 

She smiled and took another drag.  I wondered if she cared about the tar building up on her porcelain veneers.  “That’s more like it,” she sneered.  “I thought you mighta lost your touch.”

I sighed.  She was determined to pick a fight, so I decided to give her one.  “The only thing that’s touched is your mind.  Have you lost it?”

“Who could blame me if I had?  It’s not like you’ve been very supportive…”

“If support requires mindless encouragement and participation in meaningless activities, then you’re right.  I’ve been shamefully absent.”

“This means something to me,” she said, trying to keep her voice modulated.  She stubbed out the cigarette and picked up her drink with a claw.  “You know, you could think of someone else besides yourself!,” she hissed, tapping the glass with a red talon.

She understood me so little, that I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  “That might be difficult,” I said, playing along.  What would I gain if I tried to explain myself? It was so much easier not to challenge her thinking. 

The ruse worked.  “You’re the most self-absorbed person I know,” she said, visibly relieved.  “You ought to consider the feelings of others sometimes.”

Reducing the impact of others’ feelings was actually my biggest hurdle.  Funny how as my alleged friend, she was so quick to forget it.  I realized suddenly that we had nothing more to say to each other.

“I’ll remember that,” I said, quickly bowing out of the match.  I didn’t care if she thought ill of me.  It was only artificial opinion anyway.  No matter how many times I spun the tube, she’d never see me as I am.  I would be endlessly refracted by the lens of her own perception.

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4 Responses to “KALEIDOSCOPE”

  1. claws and red talons – no meows or hisses here,
    just a little screeching from the wild life.

    Someone told me once to keep things sharp, ready to use at a moments notice, but always out of sight until needed. Red talons come to mind.

  2. The first thing I noticed is yr wonderful knack for repartee’ (thought of
    Noel Cowardly playwriting?)
    As for the content, sorry for yr pain/It all starts out with you sitting through all her world and she has the nerve to torture you w/ “..you could think of someone else besides yourself..etc” jaysuss, lend an ear and they want salvation. There’s better love down the road, more suitable to yr own cool.

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