Friday, January 28, 2005

How Evelyn Lived With Germ Warfare

From A Dream

Evelyn jerked awake and leaped out of bed, ready to continue running. Before she realized where she was, she'd stumbled and nearly tripped over the chair close beside the bed. What a horrible dream she'd had about that cemetery!

She sat on the edge of the bed, breathing hard, groping on the night stand for her water glass, thinking about taking a Tylenol, afraid to go back to sleep. Ever since she was a little girl, she'd been able to run like a deer and had always been proud of it, but these dreams of shame in which she was too fat instead of too thin just kept coming now. She remembered what the boys in junior high and high school used to say about her, almost to her face.

"Look at that, she's built like a boy," they'd tell each other as she passed by, making sure that she could hear them.

Most often, everyone laughed, sometimes including other girls, until Evelyn's face burned. She'd always pretended not to hear, of course. It seemed as if she was the last girl in her school to develop breasts. In school, of course, she didn't yet know that she never would develop enough curves to suit the boys.

But things didn't stop at that. Sometimes a boy would touch her lightly in the hall and for a moment she'd enjoy the touch, thinking he was getting her attention to tell her something, something she might want to hear. But then he'd groan and wipe his hand on someone and scream, "You've got Evelyn on you!"

While Evelyn blushed and tried to shrug it all off, pretend it hadn't happened, the next boy had passed it on.

"Hey! You've got Evelyn Flat-chest on you!"

On and on it went, to the next, and the next, each one repeating the same hurtful, hateful haunting words, with everyone in the hallway laughing hysterically, until the terrible, ugly message had traveled so far down the hall that her humiliation traveled before her, far out of her actual hearing. As if the touch were spreading a disease through a colony, and she was only the original carrier. The message stopped, she presumed, when bells rang and the halls cleared.

She remembered another girl in the school that they subjected to this pass-the-germ game, Evelyn suddenly remembered. Her name was Sarah Jane something-or-other, and she too had been really plain and skinny. Evelyn had been present in the hallway once when a boy she knew wiped Sarah Jane's "germ" on a new boy in school and the new boy had just pushed him away and laughed.

"What the hell do I care, stupid?" the new boy said calmly. "You just wiped more of your damn homo germs on me than hers. At least, she's a girl, not a little fag!"

The new boy pushed the other boy down repeatedly, then kicked him until the boy finally managed to scramble to his feet and run away. Evelyn had been so thrilled with the mean boy's unexpected humiliation that she forgot to even look and see how Sarah Jane had taken it. She became infatuated with the ferocious new boy then and there, feeling that she'd found someone with some kind of sense of decency. She'd hoped that some day she might even have some excuse to talk to him, but a few weeks later, she heard that the boy was expelled for fighting. She presumed he was transferred to another school; anyway, Evelyn never saw him again. Germ Warfare continued at her school, in her own and every other case. So much for adult supervision.

Joys Of Youth

When young, Evelyn wasn't allowed to be a little girl at all; instead, she was some sort of defamatory idea, some wild, unwholesome reproof to her whole society. It communicated a terrible, unbearable, irrefutable knowledge to her—a taste of that bitter tree of knowledge, the tree of good and evil. It was her first big bite, and she choked on it horribly. She'd discovered what nobody wants to know, that people are evil—children, not less so, but more so, than the adults. Like Satan, they have not yet learned forbearance or shame.

"Why do adults grow up and forget all this?" she wondered. Was it because most adults were still as amoral as they'd been when they themselves had tortured the Uglies as children? Probably so, she concluded.

"They didn't care then, they don't care now," she thought.

Perhaps because she now had children, she hated to consider that cloud of inviolate pride and unqualified love that descends on parents and blinds them to their progeny. The cloud that makes them incapable of believing what they used to know, that children—probably even their own—can be more wicked than any adult.

Out Of The Hospital

But Evelyn knew, and she always had known. She didn't look good and she hadn't felt very good, either, not since she'd stopped being just a thin sweet child and become a skinny monster, someone incessantly tortured in public. The whole world had been spoiled for her before she was thirteen. She was 34 now, and only a month out of the hospital this time. Even if she some day got "normal" again, she'd never get her sense of security back. She knew that she'd never belong to any community without being at its mercy. Her life was ruined in a fashion, regardless of any improvements that might be made. That's what she felt and therefore it was true.

In short, she was in a complete downward spiral. That's what she'd been told at the hospital, even when she was doing well. The doctor who'd told her that had been dismissed the next week, and rumor had spread that it was because he'd been too brutal with his patients. When she heard about that, though, it made her believe what he'd said even more.

"For once, someone just told the truth," she figured.

Technorati? Isn't That Someplace In Oklahoma?

Is anyone familiar with using Technorati? I'm a non-paying user and I just use it to run the Links list. I keep wondering why some sites that link to me do so in multiples (according to Technorati!)and if there's a way to delete the extra ones? It always looks like I'm trying to puff up my numbers, though it may be that nobody but me ever sees the list. I've asked Technorati, but they answer with an auto-reply that says they'll answer you some day. Maybe they will, but not so far.

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