It’s been a long time since we’ve talked about you. There’s been days and weeks and seemingly months, since I sat down and thought about you as you. Not as an extension of my own psyche, but as the person you once were.
It’s made me think about the difference between the person that we perceive ourselves to be and the way others perceive us to be. The difference in power between those two images. As if one would have us portrayed as frail, needy and awkward in a world that doesn’t understand us and the person, so charming and captivating, that once people get to know us, they are enthralled for all time.
I am having trouble reconciling those two versions of you, maybe I have trouble reconciling those two version of myself as well. As if the public and private persona can never truly be rectified, always at odds.
Still, I write about your first marriage and wonder at the devotion you must have inspired, or the captivation that encouraged her to stay with you through so much. To give up so much to be by your side. Perhaps the romantic in me is defeated by the pragmatist, but I cannot envision staying by someone’s side through such turmoil, especially at their hands.
Did you spare her a thought when you jumped into the sea with another woman, determined to end your own life? Did you consider her when the need for pain pills became all you could think about? When you encouraged her to take her life, and you yours, when you learnt of her infidelity?
For all your second guessing, the hold you must have held over people seems unbearably strong and for all my admiration of you, there’s a fear there. A fear of the person you didn’t realise you were. Or maybe you did, maybe in that house in Chiba, when times were tough and you were reminded of an early point in your life, times where you were disparaging and cruel, only to be remembered as someone remarkable.
You ran away that day.
I suspect we’d all run away.
Still I worry that I see similarities between us in those moments. Not that I would be so conceited to think that I have such a hold over people, not that I would admit to, but knowing that I cannot reconcile the public versus private in my own life. That each word that comes out of my mouth, each action, is thoroughly considered so that I may cause little issue to those around me.
I exist to cause no trouble for others.
Still, when I find it hard to bite my tongue, when I want to say something, when I rage and shout, I am you. I hold those people in nothing but contempt in those moments, and feel nothing but guilt the next time I see them, to see the kindness and regard they show me.
Perhaps I am envious of you, for I do not possess the power that you had. Perhaps if I did the world would be different.