Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Stolen Smile - 5.

5. The Theft Caper

In small towns trains chuffy in and out on the tracks, and though there be little employment, the rumor mill never stops grinding and the employees of that ‘institution’ are the most dedicated that you could ever hope to find. They work their craft from dawn to dusk, day in and day out at coffee shops, at grocery stores, at service stations and at street corners.

And now through the endless labor of the rumor mill, I very soon discovered something that rippled through fault lines and cracked everything in my world, wide open into chasm and chaos.

The nose that pointed at street lamps didn’t stick around long even though she had so easily secured a well-paid and enviable job. Gary was driving ‘her’ car one day and in less than three weeks the platinum sorcerer quit her job, moved to the city, rented a fine apartment, and took my sweet smiling Gary-boy with her. That’s what the laborers at the rumor mill told me.

In my bitterness I found myself thinking:

Maybe if he was seeking wealth, I wasn’t wealthy enough
Maybe if he was seeking virtue, I wasn’t virtuous enough
Maybe if he was seeking significance, I wasn’t significant enough
And maybe if he was seeking ‘succor’, I wasn’t ‘sucker’ enough.

I was helpless. All I could render from that news was that Gary had sold out. Made a bad deal. Bartered something much too valuable for comfortable winter accommodation, for a more nurtured stability, for escape from his father, for a truck payment, for a more settled existence, for restitution of all the sorrows that were masked, without healing, behind his happy smile.

But, all that aside, more heartbreaking than love gone awry is the realization that there is no way to fight back. With winter just around the corner and foreclosure so near at hand on Gary’s truck, the deck was stacked in the competitor’s favor.

Now I suppose you think if Gary were any kind of decent guy, he would have told me he wouldn’t be seeing me again. I’ve thought about that as well. But how silly is that for either of us to think that way? Of course he couldn’t tell me. I am a woman and I have the same instincts that other women have that go way beyond reason. The telling of it, with that everlasting smile on his face – God forbid.

Obviously for a time, Gary saw my own unique endearing qualities. Granted, I had no car and no money and if there is anything to be said for platinum hair, I didn’t have that either. And because I was still living at home, I could not offer Gary a warm place to stay. But I had other things to give me appeal.

I don’t mean to be vain and please forgive me for saying this, but you have to admit there is beauty in quietness, agreeableness, and gentleness. I liked to think that then, and even now, these qualities make me lovable to those who seek such qualities.

But if Gary had told me it was over, as most people doubtless think would have been the honorable thing to do – with his smile still in place, what beauty I have would have been forever lost.

If given that opportunity, I would have sought my own advantage. I would have instantly become a foul-mouthed, scrapping, kicking, punching, eye-ball ripping, platinum-hair-pulling demon. No it is better Gary didn’t tell me cause with no other weapons to do battle, my claws would have come out and after that Charlotte and I would both have been hurtin’ bad. With her on one side of the sidewalk, picking up her teeth with two broken arms, and me on the other side looking grotesquely ugly.

Women are the gentler sex, and too few realize there is no redemption after a display of satanic ugliness of heart and spirit. Once unleashed, no amount of make-up, cosmetic alteration, restitution, or remorse, not even God, himself, can disguise the ugliness. Nothing can erase it, nothing can cover it, nothing can contain it. It continues to bleed through with odorous rot from that evil dwelling place within.

And that contemplation somehow brings me to another thought concerning destiny that is seemingly unrelated.

Destiny is not a random occurrence. Nor is it a thing of fancy. Destiny aptly provides each one of us with uniquely measured portions of what we need for a reasonable balanced existence. Portions that align with the span of each life and time.

A kind of Morse Code made up of stretches of quick dots and delayed dashes. The dashes are open-ended and must be filled with external things like mother-love, nurturing, security, and appreciation. The dots are destiny-given internal resources that give us the ability to laugh, love, weep, heal, and move on.

They should form equalizing patterns of pain and healing but I think while Gary’s eternal smile was hidden from my view under the hood of that ol’ truck, he used up too much of his portion of creative endeavor. And never allowed the counterbalance of discouragement or sorrow or healing to kick in.

So he ended up with way too much aching disappointment locked away in the faulty progression of things. And way too much of the still outstanding-need from his boyhood, for nurturing care. And if I am right, with this imbalance something had to change.

Of course all of this only adds to my confusion. Leaving me unsure if it was a thief or destiny that forced us apart.

Nevertheless, the truth is, I never saw Gary again in that lifetime.

...Relationship concluded, but amazingly the story is not…

NEXT POST: The Fullest Understanding of Destiny


jim said...

Great writing, terrific story, I will read the beginning, thanks!

Pauline said...

ok, you had me up to the paragraph about women being the gentler sex, and the following ones about destiny. I am willing to read on, but I find myself shaking my head now instead of nodding, because I have no belief at all in destiny, fate, predestination etc. It doesn't matter in the end, because you have a fascinating way of telling a story and I'm hooked, whether I'm in agreement or not.

Roberta S said...

Hey jim. I'm pleasantly surprised to have you join my small wee reading group. Grateful thanks too for the encouraging words regarding my story-telling.

Roberta S said...

Thanks for that comment, pauline. Somehow, I think, if you and I were sitting on my back deck and I was telling you this story, you would roar with amusement at the things you disagreed with. I hope that's what you did while reading this. Nodded your head in disagreement (almost stunned disbelief) while chuckling to yourself. Cause that's what friends do.

And so, I appreciate hearing that 'the nonsense' sprinkled here and there didn't spoil the story and that you are still in attendance.

joared said...

You do write a good story, so I, too, am able to suspend my belief that destiny had little to do with it. I can embrace that a more fantasy-like romantic view might well foster this line: "Destiny aptly provides each one of us with uniquely measured portions of what we need for a reasonable balanced existence."

Some holes simply cannot be filled. No one else can fit that hole, nor should they try or be expected to do so. They must be allowed to find their own place. The only healing (and that's not the word)is in recognition another is not being valued for themself if they are being stuffed, or are trying to stuff themselves into a place other than their own.

I look forward to the rest of your story. ;-)

Roberta S said...

Thanks for the though-provoking comment, joared. You are absolutely right. Still so many of us, particularly young people, cram activities (and sometimes even individuals) into holes of anxiety, loneliness, or disatisfaction even though, as you so wisely noted, the plug-in is an impossible fit and there is no 'healing' in the effort.

Pauline said...

Ah Roberta - I wasn't sure if I was detecting tongue-in-cheek there or not - you can say the darndest things with a straight face... carry on; I am anxious to see what happens next.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Oh you had a LOT more to offer than just quietness, agreeableness, and gentleness Roberta. I wonder if Gary thought about you in the days and months after he left. He barely got a chance to know the stellar human being you became. I kind of feel sorry that he missed out knowing you better...but we all know timing can play a big part; and his loss was someone else's gain. I loved this piece sweetie...

Roberta S said...

pauline, rest assured my comments to you are always with smiles and the best of good humor. I'm pleased as punch that you're still following along with my ramble.

And joy, thanks for the lovely (and flattering) comment.

Hope both of you enjoy the conclusion which I plan to post on Monday, and don't forget to give me a final critique.

I'm totally open to criticism az well as praise because for some stories (and this is one of them), writing is a rather serious business.