Song: “The Dumbing Down of Love”
Artist: Frou Frou
(Picture taken from [http://bunnehmunches.blogspot.com/2010_04_01_archive.html)
She has a box under her bed that holds an unfinished scrapbook. Inside, loose and scattered are the photos of their past year together that haven't yet made their way onto the bright and colorful pages.
It was supposed to be an anniversary gift. It was supposed to be a good memory of a journey they had decided to embark upon together.
A wild adventure but one filled with sweetness and romance... of hand holding and shy smiles, of whispered conversations and blushing cheeks...of flowers and chocolates...
Now she stands in the middle of her bedroom unable to move closer because she knows... she knows that they're there, mocking her, a potential box full of evidence that she'd been blind all along.
Part of her wants to go, to move towards the bed, to yank the box open and look at picture after picture, examining his face, the way his body lined with hers...
Had there been extra space between them? Had his smile looked tired or forced? Had there been times he'd simply looked disgusted? Trapped even?
She wants to scream no. That she knew each picture. Hadn't she spent weeks picking out each one, cutting them into different shapes, and smiling as she recalled a memory, a story that went with each of them...?
It's like a movie in her mind, unbidden and with no remote control to push stop. It leaves her stranded in the middle of that room that suddenly feels too big and too empty. Every little moment replays and its insidious, the little nagging thought, that all that happiness had been faked all along.
There had never been love between them.
He’d been just a mere pawn between his parents and hers who had placed them together until he'd finally broken free from them... She’d grown up with the idea of an arranged marriage. It had never felt strange to her. Strange to her had been the dance of intrigue and manipulation and stress and questioning and doubt she had watched her peers go through as they wove around the crowds trying to find their perfect match without ever showing who they truly were themselves.
She had trusted in her parents’ judgment. She had trusted them because they had always kept her safe and happy and loved. And she had grown seeing the respected love between them and had always figured that they’d find her someone to grow old with who she would love and respect like they did each other.
So when they had introduced him, she’d never doubted or questioned or shielded herself in any way. Naively, she’d thought he was like her. She’d thought that he was happy with the match and that all their moments together were building them towards a future. Instead, he’d been hiding his true self, playing the part his parents wished him to play until he found his way out and away from all of them.
There had never been love or respect.
There had never been anything there at all.
She has work tonight. And time is cruel as it continues to tick forward, a dull noise in the back of her head that she can't ignore despite the fact that she wants to. The light fades as the sun goes down and the shadows within her room grows leaving her with the slow feeling that her eyes have been opened by force only to lose their ability to see once more.
Her legs are stiff and the sore warmth starts to cause the muscles to tremble as it leeches up from her toes to her ankles, to her calves... up, up, up...
She has yet to move from her spot, mere steps away from the door, a couple more in the opposite direction towards her bed...
She cannot miss work tonight.
No...but she wishes she could.
Still it takes a phone call from an irate co-worker who has had to stay late and pick up the slack to get her moving once more. It’s like a stretched out rubber band that has suddenly been let go. Though it snaps back to its usual shape, there are little micro-tears in its fabric now... weakening it.
She feels like she has been snapped back. She plays her role well, forcing apologies through that sound sincere as she lies... yes, awful traffic... an accident on 22... hm-hm... no, no... I'll be there. I promise. I'll make it up to you...
Yes, but who will make it up to me? For that entire year of nothing in which I gave up my heart?
The pleading voice is hushed as she continues to move, taking clothes off to pull on her uniform and grabbing her keys as she goes, stumbling as she can't correctly stuff her foot in the shoe.
There is some traffic but there is no accident. She's not worried though, the coworker is lazy and couldn't be bothered to count her own tips to make sure the owner isn't scamming her, let alone check up on others' lies...
So she gets there, only an hour late and the mask that has crept over her features stays there only to crack during clean up time. It’s stupid and its embarrassing, and she’s stuck there, an overturned chair in her hands that have lost their strength as the radio someone has flicked on to make the dull chore less dull, blares their song.
She can do nothing but cry, finally, the numbness worn off and the bitter hurt that had kept her heart aching coming down in hot wet trails down her face.
3 months, 2 days, and mindless hours…
The box still lies unopened under her bed, the scrapbook unfinished with the photos scattered around it.
She has moved on with her life. She has met new people, gone on several dates, even started a new adventure with one…She still listens to her parents and meets the choices that they have to offer but she never really sees them. She never really trusts in them.
She’s joined the dance of intrigue and she’s gotten herself spinning so hard that she feels like a bug caught in a web, tangled and hanging in the air, tiring itself out in trying to work itself free and doing the reverse instead. The spider’s there, maybe. But hasn’t come yet for her.
But there is a part of her that always remembers the box underneath the bed that she never touches. Its in the back of her head as whoever she’s with whispers sweet nothings in her ear, giving her roses who have begun to wilt the second they’d been cut from their rosebush…
All the little gestures that should have been sweet merely underwhelm her, making her just that little bit suspicious of what he wants her to be blind to.
It’s not that she doesn’t want to believe in love and happy endings.
It’s just that she’s scared to.
Magali L is currently a graduate student, hoping to be done soon. She does have a twitter account but hasn’t been on it in ages and has never really updated it. So if you would like to contact her, e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org, is the best way to go.