I wrote this in early 2009. I’ve been going back over some of my old stuff, trying to identify what it is I want to say and how I tackle the nitty gritty of writing it all down: and I liked this piece. It’s far from perfect (I’m not yet ready to swim in the shark infested waters of editing!) but it has…something. I’m still not sure what though!
I am not sure why it bothered me, but it did: immensely. The grating sound of his breath, rasping between his pinkish pouting lips, with small specks of spittle escaping victoriously from his moistened mouth, drove me ever so slowly toward the brink of insanity. I couldn’t help thinking that I could have prevented this; that I could have stemmed the ever increasing wave of embarrassment which swept over me as he spoke to my fellow graduates who herded desperately around him. I had not needed to bring him to this gathering; there had been no request for him to attend: and yet he had arrived, at my insistence, in my foolish attempt to parade him around as though I was superior to my peers. He was my prize, and I wanted to show what I had won. Yet, now, here, as he stood so confident and elegant in the centre of an increasing band of insistent students, I realised I had not staked my claim clearly enough over my trophy; that, in fact, he was not my trophy at all, but the crown of every aspiring writer who attended my course. I had lost him in the throng of aficionados, as one misplaces a single grain of sand on a thousand mile beach, and he had yet to notice I was no longer by his side.
It was clear to see that I had been sufficiently duped by his selective charm and seductive good-looks. How easily must I have played into the adoring, yet modest, doe-eyed girl who feigns ignorance and believes she is capturing the admiration of a hero, when in reality she is the one finally defeated? I could not help smiling, and then laughing unreservedly at the shamefulness of it all. He was incandescent in his self-assurance, so confident and comfortable amongst the throng of people thrust toward him it was as though they had been invented just to worship him: he was his own god of creation and he had moulded the subjects around him to allow just enough freedom for them to believe his personable nature was authenticity itself.
I turned away, rejected but relieved. I need not worry that I would be missed, I was no longer important, I was not with him. It was enlightening to step outside into the biting cold. I felt refreshed and renewed. I was born again without the naivety required for a god-like effigy to lead me into Promised Land.