Good Enough - 1

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She sat on the end of her bed; spent would have seemed inadequate to describe how she felt. She turned around and looked at the covers that lay in disarray. The pillows were bunched up against the wall, and one had wedged against it enough to push the bed out. She shook her head, wondering if it had been good for him. She dismissed that notion immediately. If he looked upset as he left, the look on his face hours before showed at least that he was satisfied. If he actually was satisfiable, that is. Nothing seemed to make him happy, despite any expression to the contrary.

“Why can’t you dress up more often?” he would ask, as if a nice pair of slacks and a pretty top were inadequate for a dinner at Outback. Nothing she did seemed to please him, even if he came back for more. And who really wants to get dressed up just to meet out of town for dinner, anyway. Even when she did wear a dress or a nice skirt suit, he would make a comment about her hair or her makeup. He was never at a loss for suggestions about what she could do to improve herself.

“You could stand to lose a little weight.”

“I can’t understand why you don’t wear something a bit more flattering.”

“Where did you get that dress?”

He never seemed to be interested in her answers; to say that she was insecure would have been not only an understatement but ironic as well, since nothing she could do or speak warranted his attention unless is was to provoke a complaint about how she looked or acted or spoke. Explanations were received as excuses and excuses were cast aside in favor of whatever he deemed she should do or say or even be.

“I…I’m…sssss….orrry.” She had lapsed sadly into long-banished habits.

“What? Come on…speak up,” he would demand, as if she was actually enjoying the stares and whispers when she spoke.

She tried not to, but her eyes once again fixed themselves upon the disheveled bedclothes. The impression, ever so slight, seemed to be the one thing to give proof that she wasn’t alone the night before. He beat his typical hasty retreat with only the vague smell of his soap and the dent in the pillow giving evidence to his presence….

She lowered her eyes to stare on her naked form. The one comfort out of all of it remained evident from when she was old enough to gain the wrong attention. But she still felt good about how her body…most of her body…had been formed. What would have been a grave disappointment for some became a treasure for her. She raised her hand and touched her right breast.

The clock radio woke up and began playing a song. She lay back on the bed; her legs almost dangling to the floor. Her head rested on the bunched-up comforter underneath. They hadn’t even gotten under the covers, and she had been forced to pull them from the side of the bed over her naked body. And even at that she had shivered all night; mostly from the cold, but some from the one next to her; turned away as if to leave her alone.

The music was almost hypnotic; the spell seemed to lower softly from above as it wove its magic over her.

Under your spell again.
I can't say no to you.
Crave my heart and it's bleeding in your hand.
I can't say no to you.

Who actually cared the least for her? He had an excuse; he was insensitive and selfish. She knew from the beginning that he only cared for himself. He made it plain that nothing was forever. Everything that he did and said was transient and shallow, and yet last night was another night where the predictable became acceptable. A night where even the barest of something was better than nothing at all.

She moved her hand down between her legs; even her own touch seemed to mock her as the numbness and electric embraced in accusation, as if she deserved nothing and got it. Ask and ye shall receive?

Shouldn't have let you torture me so sweetly.
Now I can't let go of this dream.
I can't breathe but I feel...

The song echoed her own thoughts, but in a distorted way. The words meant to speak of that fulfillment she hoped for instead mocked her as if good enough was merely adequate, if that. She never felt good enough; believing that she could never satisfy because she was false where demands were real. Woefully falling short of whatever anyone might consider merely acceptable.

No excuses. If he abused her, it must have been because she abused herself by allowing him into her bed time and time again. No reward, however deceptively enticing, was worth what she did to herself, but she indeed did it anyway. A dream that held onto her tenaciously by feeding off her fears. And no one to blame but herself. No one to step forward and nod and apologize for the neglect from the beginning that led to the abandonment of hope in favor of whatever the acceptable was. The long departed would never speak words of remorse over what was taken from her while what remained was unwanted and painful.

She touched herself again; wanting so desperately for the real to fade and the hoped-for to bloom. Nothing. Nothing to reveal her secret since it hadn’t been a secret for so very long. It just was what it was.

And no commitment to morph into demands for much more; life merely devolved into frustrated expectations for the impossible. Those frustrations would only lie on her side of the bed; unfulfilled wishes that were pushed aside like an unwanted touch of an arm draped across the one next to her. She pulled her hand up slightly and joined it with her other; palms facing down. Everything looked right. But nothing was right, no matter what she had believed. Magic only happens in books and stories and images on large screens in crowded halls.

And ironic that she could never receive from him the only thing he could give freely if with great reluctance; there would never be any fears over what happen to him because of what would never be for her. She sighed and moved her right hand to her left breast. Form over function some might say. She turned her head to the side and faced the dim light of the numbers on the clock; the only light in an otherwise darkened room. And no light for a darkened soul; shadows of doubt and shame cast over her like a smothering blanket. She began to sob; no modulation as her body began to shake the bed as yet another night of sad reminders of what could never be tore at her heart. And it was a morning once again of what would always be. She was only good enough.

Good enough,
I feel good enough for you.

* * * * *

Drink up sweet decadence.
I can't say no to you,
And I've completely lost myself, and I don't mind.
I can't say no to you.

Shouldn't let you conquer me completely.
Now I can't let go of this dream.
Can't believe that I feel...

Good enough,
I feel good enough.
It's been such a long time coming, but I feel good.

And I'm still waiting for the rain to fall.
Pour real life down on me.
'Cause I can't hold on to anything this good enough.
Am I good enough for you to love me too?

So take care what you ask of me,
'cause I can't say no.

Good Enough
Words and music by
Amy Lee
As performed by

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This story is 1328 words long.