Character Sketch II

Duchess

 “What do you think? If somebody treats you mean, do you leave?  Do you try to be nice to them?  Do you find new friends?  We’re just having a conversation, you understand, just a conversation.”

“I’m not sure exactly,” I replied. “It depends greatly on the situation.”

“Well let’s just say you’re in a relationship, and the person treats you bad.  What do you do?  Just a conversation.”

“Well, I’d probably say you should leave, depending on how bad it is.”

“Mhm.  I just wanted a young person’s opinion.  Just, for instance.”

“I’d say just make sure you’re taking care of yourself.”

“Not necessarily me.”

Duchess almost never smiled.  Her face was a study in sorrow.  A frown was chiseled into her cheeks.  The ends of her lips naturally tended downward.  She would lean on anything, as if the weight of her existence was too much to carry.  She spoke below a whisper, as if she did not deem her voice worthy of being heard. 

Silence passed.

I broke it.

“I think if someone is being abused, they should leave.”

She startled.  She looked like I had uncovered something too horrible.

“But don’t people sometimes change?  Sometimes if you love ‘em enough?”

“I wish people could change.  Sometimes they do but rarely.”

“Mhm,” she contemplated.

She rolled up her sleeve and showed me bruises.  She told me how her husband would shake her, how she was afraid that one day he might shake her too hard.  She might fall back and hit her head and be dead.  She said she ached.  Her skin would break out, which her doctor said was because of stress.  She worried too much and she knew it.  She was sixty without anyone in the world.  She used to set up a Christmas tree for her grandson but he never came round no more. 

“I set up a tree just for me.  I like it.”  I tried to be cheerful.  What a stupid, stupid thing to say.

She said her doctor said her spine was disenter… distente… (disintegrating) and that her back hurt so much sometime that tears would come out.  She had an MRI later that day.  She’d have to go alone.  It was scary being in a tunnel all alone, but God was with her and that would just have to be alright, she supposed. 

“I try to love everybody.  I try to tell people I appreciate their being here.  I try to hug people, but not everybody likes to be hugged.  You see her over there?  She sometimes comes in here so grumpy, and nobody deserves that.  You know, sometimes after he’s been running around with some other women, he needs my help and comes around.  I help him.  I do everything I can for him.  But he gets so angry.  He takes everything out on me.  He’s sixty, but he hasn’t lost any of his strength.  He’s gotten worse.  He’s gonna kill me.”

“You’re so busy taking care of everyone else.  You need to take care of yourself.”  What a stupid thing to say.

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~ by falleninparadise on December 11, 2012.

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