Just What You Want to Be...

Just What You Want to Be....jpg

for Consuela…

Nights in white satin
Never reaching the end
Letters I've written
Never meaning to send

Beauty I've always missed
With these eyes before
Just what the truth is
I can't say any more

Madelyn sat on the park bench, wondering how she could ever have hoped for happiness. She gazed over at the couple standing by the edge of the broad stream that flowed through the park. Several ducks had wandered through from the adjoining pond and were walking up the small bank of the stream seeking the morsels of bread that were being tossed. The couple, an old man and woman, were laughing and exchanging loving smiles.

“You’re so foolish,” Madelyn said to herself; believing all too much what circumstances said. It was all too easy at times to self-deceive, she had conclude, since her beliefs, after all, were entirely subjective. The truth had become elusive, in a sense. She thought of what she would tell Carrie, if she could only steel herself to the all-too-easily anticipated glare of benign neglect. Lately it seemed that Carrie didn’t really care what Madelyn said or did; at least it felt that way.

“You’ve got to be honest at least about me,” she spoke again as if she was divided; the one thing she had been trying so hard to avoid. Disintegration…

“Mah-deh-lin? Maaah-deh-lin?” She heard her own voice mocking her. It had been important to use her full name, as if by using a nick-name she would be selling her identity short. The teasing continued.

“Maaah-deee? Maaa-deh-li-un?” She put her head down, feeling condemned. The fear of exposure and rejection had to be less painful than hiding; it just had to be better. But every time she stood up in her heart, things that had long beset her would knock her down. And it felt like she was the only one; the only one who knew the pain of being rent asunder between expectations and demands on one side and sad dreams and too-cautious hopes on the other.

* * * * *

Gazing at people some hand in hand
Just what I'm going through they can't understand
Some try to tell me thoughts they cannot defend
Just what you want to be you will be in the end

“I’m so afraid…” If she had been talking instead of messaging, her voice would have trailed off. Consuela and Madelyn held each other’s hands often across the ether, and her fears practically reflected her friend’s. It was ironic in a way in that like many girls on the same journey, both of them often felt as if no one could understand what they went through. What they really felt is that while it was such a relief that their on-line sisters knew, the ones closest to them either didn’t know or knew enough to not ask any more questions.

“What are you afraid of?” Consuela knew exactly what Madelyn feared; she was dealing with her own dread on a nearly moment to moment basis. That she had a bit less experience in facing down her own fears meant little, since she gave the older woman what courage she could spare. Each continued to feel frustrated and even guilty in their respective stopovers on their journeys, as if by using caution they might somehow betray their ‘real’ selves.

“You know…” Madelyn typed tentatively; not even feeling right about mentioning her own reasons lest they discourage the younger woman. She felt ill-equipped — undeserving even — of filling any semblance of being a mentor, and the old twin demons of guilt and shame reared their ugly heads once again.

“I do know, honey.” Madelyn did not need to see Consuela’s face to know that her tears were mirrored on her friend’s face. Not the desperate, hopeless weeping of resignation, but instead the compassionate travail of tears that petitioned that dreamed-for outcome each had sought since they were little.

“I don’t know what’s worse,” Madelyn had mused once, “Being known and having it go no further or being unknown and alone.”

“I think we both feel alone in that regard, you know?” The younger woman would have seen herself as having nothing to offer, but her wisdom combined wonderfully with a full heart.

“Listen to this?” Madelyn pasted the video link and hit enter. After a few moments of ‘silence,’ the little window at the bottom of the screen ‘beeped’ with the words, ‘I’m crying.’

“My old therapist …Cheryl? She used to say that the reason she called me Madelyn… you know …instead of my other name? ‘It’s because that’s who you are.’” A simple ‘nods’ replied quickly.

“But it’s like the song goes….and this is the hardest part.” Madelyn bit her lip as tears fell off her chin, hitting the grey Tabby that sat in her lap instead of the stereotypical keyboard.

“Just what you want to be…” She ‘paused’ as she measured the next few words against her desire…her need, actually, to continue to encourage her friend. ‘Consuela is typing’ popped up, quickly followed by,

“You will be in the end.” Several moments passed before Consuela continued.

“It’s what my therapist is telling me. That as scary as it is; it still is up to me to figure out what I want. And the scariest part of that is telling Jacinta the truth about who I am.” Madelyn knew that the tears were falling thousands of miles away as both knew the absolutely horrible fear of rejection. They’d seen enough words to know that even a few of their friends…people just like them, in fact, couldn’t understand their inaction.

“I only know what I know about your heart, sweetie,” Madelyn typed. ‘Consuela is typing’ appeared and then quickly disappeared followed by several more moments of silence,

“You’re who you are… whom you were created to be, sweetie.” She repeated the endearment; the woman needed to know how she was ‘viewed.’

“And you give me strength.” Madelyn thought about the scene in the park as the song replayed. Consuela was only one of more than several friends who gave her strength, and yet she also needed to know just how important…how special she was to Madelyn.

“”I have to tell Jacinta.”

“And I need to talk more with Carrie.”

“Holding your hand.” Consuela said.

“And I yours. I’ve got to run out for a few errands.” If there had been a tone in Madelyn’s ‘voice,’ it would have been one of frustration. Real life for both of them proved time and again to be both wondrous and painful at the same time. She included a ‘sigh.’

“Me too. Love you! Laters?”

Madelyn nodded at the prompt and wrote,

“Love you, too! Laters!” She nodded in real time before hitting ‘exit’ while breathing out a deep sigh.

“Laters…” She looked over her shoulder at the sleeping figure on the couch even as the song gave words to her gaze…

'Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you
'Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you

The Nights in White Satin
(Late Lament)

Words and music by
Justin Hayward
As performed by
Tina Arena

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