SO. MUCH. WORSE.
First, she got panicky, as if she’d forgotten something really important. Not a specific thing like when you forget your keys, but in general, bigger. Something meta. Like, she felt as if there was something she was supposed to have remembered to do with her life, but by now she’d lost interest, but that was beside the point because the agenda had been set. Set around her NECK. And as a result, she just about couldn’t breathe, and she felt strongly that she needed some Valium. (This is not in modern times; this is a folktale set in the pre-Betty Friedan epoch). She needed a Valium so bad. Just to deal.
Seconds later, she went from panicky to stark raving hellcat.
Like a hormonal imbalance, of sorts, but extreme. Not the weepy kettle-corn-jumbo-bag-eat-eat-eat variety of imbalance. More like: Everything is wrong. I have no control. How did I end up here. How did I let this happen. Get these things off me. Except, oh god, oh GOD, it was what I said I wanted. I asked for this, I hoped for this. And now these pearls and their baggage are making me not-breathe. WHAT. NOW.
That’s the kind of imbalance I’m talking about.
I mean, what did you THINK was going to happen when you wrapped your neck in a set of expectations you’d dreamed up at age, like, eighteen? And now you’re extremely not-eighteen? But you figure you should still want to wear those pearls you keep in a box in the dresser drawer? Do you think you should still want to even possess them?
Of course, you couldn’t have forecasted that, back then. You couldn’t. All you knew, back then, was that here was this boy. Sweet. Smokes. Drives a red Nova, introduces you to the fine fine music of Steely Dan. Gives you pearls on a hillside near the football field on graduation night. [To clarify: It’s your graduation night and he is a waiter (he is older) putting himself through community college (OLDER).] So, this is a thought-through thing. A budgeted-for thing. This is an investment and it means something big, at eighteen.
But that’s not now. Really not. Now the pearls are just a placeholder for a place you’re not going, and if you keep wearing them, I mean if Unworn Pearls Sister insists on wearing them, all she’s gonna feel is like there’s something left undone. A thing just hanging out there, something she’s not doing right, despite that everything else feels pretty good. It’s all fine except those goddamn pearls, you know? So.
She has a choice to make. And I promise you, she makes it. Coming up.
Tomorrow: We pause the origin myth for one more guest post. A rebuttal of sorts.