Six: Chapter 2
More than two weeks had passed since Madeline had enough time to waste an afternoon on her own leisure. Between four children and her husband who, in a strange revision of the known stereotypical marriage, decided he would be hungry for sex every other night which seemed, to Madeline, only to serve to interrupt her busy schedule as an English teacher. Finals week always seemed to bring about an extra sense of disparity to her life. The influx of terrified students, begging for their futures to be saved, coupled with Madeline’s recent indulgences into the internet’s findings on the decline of a woman’s sexual attractiveness drove her to have an affair with an old friend whom had been sweet on her during their younger years, in an attempt to flee her insecurities brought on by these readings. As she became aroused thinking back on this encounter, her husband entered the kitchen through one of the many doors leading to various areas of the household properties. Gerald had just come from the pool deck.
“Maddy, my dear.”
Gerald had become accustomed to greeting Madeline in the same way without variation. She assumed it was due to the M’s rolling of the tongue just right.
*Maddy, Mah dear*.
Madeline cringed at the sound of the words, even within her own head they had a sort of pain come along with the sound. She’s heard it so much, you see. It’s only reasonable that someone might develop a natural repulsive manner toward something so repetitive.
Maddy, as we shall call her now (since you’ve become close), studied her husband intently. Scrawny though he was, he managed to stand very confident, which Maddy found attractive. And he was honest. Something she told herself every day in her head. She pondered what kind of luck she must have, to end up with someone like him. She felt secure as she told herself “I’ll never betray such a man.” This man, her husband, brought in a wealth of monetary value for her and her 3 children to enjoy. As a well-respected neurologist, he always found his bank account with more numbers than he would care to keep lying around. Combine this with Maddy’s respectable, however moderate, income as a worker for her community’s school and what’s left is an amount of pounds that would be a crime not to spend on luxuries.
Schubert played within her head as she starred.
“Wenn der Tag abreist komm ich zu dir
Zieh ne Sonnenbrille auf und geh spazieren
Dann kann mir nichts mehr passieren
Auch wenn ich dich am nächsten Morgen verlier“
Following her honest man, three children, indeed! She shook the first Maria’s tiny face with both of her hands. This first child, who’s body did not match the size of its heart, was a promising one. An openness to all sorts of ideas and people, with a capacity to learn. Maddy did enjoy her presence, and Maddy did love this one, as it was so and it was decided in her mind. Once the first moved on, the second proceeded through the door, and instantly smiled gleefully. The young Kate’s ability to ensure positivity within a select group of people was astonishing to the average person. Not even her mother knew if she suffered deep within, but it was best to keep it under unspoken words. Identifying such an issue could lead to a dismantling of Maddy’s envisioned family, of which was already being threatened by the third child, who walked past the Kate and Maria without any glances or effecting of the greetings being exchanged aside him. As Maddy kissed the forehead of the Kate whom she loved, thoughts of anger and frustration ran through her mind due to the third child entering her world’s apparent existence. The third Fel was not a promising child. Maria’s studies, even at the tender age of 12 (of which all the children were), created the ingredients of competition that would lead any sibling to flourish under the drive and motivation of a madman in accomplishing the feat of absorbing more knowledge. Fel did not follow suite. Instead, he accepted his sister’s profound ability to remember information, and left it alone. When put next to Kate, you could see no resemblance in his looks. No smile, nor warm face, nor welcoming words to attract others to his company. Instead, Fel would sit around the outskirts of the family and listen to their conversation. He would add nothing to Maddy’s existence. Nothing to Gerald’s existence. Nothing to the Maria’s existence. Nothing to the Kate’s existence. It was an interesting thought for the mother of this boy to ponder if he would add anything to his own existence.
“Does he believe he has one? Does he have one?”
But yes, for the most part he sat and he observed. And he was, perhaps, troubled. People would notify Maddy and her husband of Fel’s apparent speaking to himself quietly. They attributed this to a hyperactive imagination which wasn’t occupied with enough studying to prevent such concerning events. It was doubted in the mother’s mind that studying was the core of the issue, but like the possibility of Kate’s internal sufferings, it was best to not speak about it. And as such, she had no real understanding of what Gerald made of the situation other than some remarks he had made a couple years back when the married two were brought in to see the private school’s principle who’s bald head, rather large stomach, stubby fingers, and expensive wedding ring symbolizing a union of two which, by the looks of it, relied on wages as opposed to some sexual desire, made him a stereotype that was so perfect, it brought in a uniqueness that was, in its own way, ironic. Maddy giggled in her head as she thought back on the grotesque man.
“I don’t mean to sound surly, but I am quite disappointed that I must see you two again.” Waltz Varen was the kind of principle to act as though his duties as a worker at the top of the hierarchy belonging to a private school revolved around each student’s parent’s ability to shape them as he would like them to be.
What’s the issue this time around?” Maddy had no real interest in hearing more of her son’s poor marks, which were almost certainly the topic of every meeting to be had with this one.
“Well it’s a bit of a new one, you’ll be taken aback to hear. Nothing to do with marks. At least not of priority right now.” Gerald looked, in an understandable mess of repetition, relieved, sitting by his wife. The principle continued, “Kate is doing just as good as ever, indeed. And I hear good things about her time volunteering at the public Medical Cache’s center. She seems to be serving as an assistant quite well! Perhaps a good medical career lies within her future, eh?” The mildly sweat absorbed man grunted a growling laugh and proceeded to cough a bit too obnoxiously for Maddy to evade thoughts of contempt, somewhat dark. The man got his bearings and proceeded once more, “Maria has actually managed to keep her position as the top pupil within the school throughout the entire year and has, exceeding in the most valiant of standards, bumped her state wide rank to fifth! And it’s no secret that her exceptional writings and essays may pull her up a couple more ranks, assuming the majority of these public teachers are able to bear its genius, that is! Lord knows they’re second rate, at best.” Gerald had heard enough.
“So could you get onto the issue? We understand very well how our girls are performing.” Varen looked apologetic of his efforts in conversation. “Of course, Mistah Lewis! I regret wasting your precious time! My apologies. You must und’uhstand how difficult it is to ignore your family’s exceptional erm….” Varen paused carefully before proceeding, waving his wand about in circle fashion and squinting to show hard thought in progress, “Your girls’ wonderful accomplishments they’ve contributed to this school, indeed. Now, on to the reason for our meeting here.” Maddy’s lack of interest brought her to notice the way Varen’s ring finger was a bit too large for the ring itself. It seemed to be rather pinkish around the circlet of gold and diamond, where in the portion of the finger underneath was as pale as her husband’s skin. It was, in its own way, a good representation of how his relation with his wife must be forced. Glaring gold shown gallantly as the base for a smaller squared design of diamond pretentiousness pushed awkwardly and painfully upon a limb of useful variations, rendering the choked and lifeless appendage trashed and re-appropriated as a simple branch of display for others to view. As pale as her husband…
“Hispanic, not white.” Her mind drifted back into its appropriate position of attention. Varen wouldn’t take notice of her inattentiveness, she wore modest clothing. Regardless, the thought of her man becoming undone over her heedlessness was void of any appeal. Gerald had an ego that required the public knowledge to be secured in the realm of perfection. Gerald’s wealthy family, Gerald’s intelligent children, Gerald’s attentive wife, who dare not ruin the last descriptions of three. It’s an odd game of emotional solitude, life. As Maddy’s internet sources had put it, social power increased for men as they got older, and vice versa for women. This was caused, mainly, by female sexual optimization failing and male sexual prowess increasing over their lifespan, to an extent. This was apparent and plausible in Maddy’s mind. She thought back on when she and her husband first met during their high school days. Gerald was, to noticeable extent, more submissive back then. Catering to his future wife’s every need, whether it was in relation to her social life, or perhaps a minute detail of infinite meaning within a deep conversation relating to personal matters. He always seemed to add extra care with every word he spoke, and everything he did had a good feel to it. It wouldn’t be less than accurate to say that he was good with emotions, an attribute not applicable to some people she’s met, indeed. But lately his submissive understanding and care has turned towards a more demanding attitude. If an issue is to be had, Maddy should, even in the right, be apologetic for its happenings. Adjusting to this life of constant eggshell-dancing was turning out to be more than emotionally overbearing. And the thoughts of Gerald leaving her, risking the wife’s ego she’s learned to live by which assumed she was desirable, kept her motivated (more or less desperate, actually) enough to continue the dance of life. After all, in Maddy’s mind, being desirable was no longer a standard to enjoy, but rather one to keep at all costs. Whether or not her energy is being put to good use would be decided by those who found her, well… desirable. (or perhaps not so). All of this weighed down on the poor wife’s mind as she sat up straight. A tear almost met her eye as she envisioned Gerald fucking a younger version of herself. She dug her ring finger’s nail into her wrist and turned her emotions to stone so as to keep stable.
“He wouldn’t do that to me, he is honest. And his confidence exists only to display an artwork of unobtainability for others, while its function changes into a product for my enjoyment when I so desired. No one could convince him to betray me. He wouldn’t because I wouldn’t. No one loves him like I love him…
I wonder how Sam is doing.”
Sounds of Varen had drifted back into her ears. “…He’s been acting a bit odd lately. More than usual, I mean. His teachers report that he seems to mumble to himself every so often. Perhaps an odd misunduh’derstanding revolving around his technique for solving problems and this sort of tha’ng. But I’m afraid he also threatened to, and I do apologize for using this description, but I am going to quote him directly, ‘stick my fingers through your eye sockets’.” Varen raised his eyebrows along with his eyes from the paper that was below his round chin to indicate something wasn’t right about the situation that everyone should have noticed. “He was talkin’ to a fellow school mate who had apparently made inappropriate remarks about your two girls. Remarks that said student deeply regrets, mind you…” the couple were staring at the man, trying to come up with something to say. Luckily, Varen decided to continue, but not after letting the conversation fill with seconds worth of tense air. “…Now, look, I do respect a person’s sticking up for family, without a doubt. God knows it’s the most important thing on earth for us humans. But I am afraid I have to STRONGLY disagree with the way this altercation was handled. The other student, who shall not be named for his regret is enough punishment, did make massive errors in judgement and let sin envelop his heart, shown through his actions. But Fel’s response was absolut’lay unreal. Just imagine if he were an adult, in the REAL world? He’d a been thrown into prison! Here, as you are aware, we like to prepare students for futures not just in careers, but also in society. And I am willing to bet you can’t find a problem with that, can ya?” The two dumbfounded parents shook their heads enduringly. “Then I reckon it is accepted that the attention allocated to Fel will be so that any odd habits, social or otherwise, will be…” The bald headed man, now dry as though the sweat previously about his body had evaporated, paused. No hand motion was involved in what looked like to be less of thinking and more of a sweetening of the next words. He simply stared for a moment before he finished his sentence. “…altered. I don’t want to have a mishap like this take place in my school again. Unduh’stand?”
Ever since the emotional scolding that took place between Fel and his mother (Gerald left the disciplining to Maddy), he had become much quieter and removed. He did not speak, but nor did he become over-ridden with anger. He did not risk the attention of connecting with others, but nor did others connect with him. The mother managed to instill a form of repression, creating a Fel, full of emotion, with no motion. A person without risk of seeming unpleasant or disruptive. The perfect child for someone who wants a person who will do nothing. Fel did nothing. And it was easier this way. And so it would be for his life. Whatever it was, happy, sad, fulfilled, or nothing at all. It would be forever. Consistency at its finest, with very little hope for change. For no transport can get to its destination without moving, and Fel was motionless. The space he occupied now would be the space in which he occupies then, and forever.
Maddy had come back from her detailed, albeit unnecessarily long, daydream. Everyone had seemed to move to another part of the house. All but for a Fel, who was standing on the opposite side of the kitchen in which she resided. Neither food nor drink in his hand. His stare was unsettling, for no intent could be seen. Not always, anyway. Maddy looked on to her son with indifference, which then turned to slight curiosity as he continued to stare back without flinch nor fail. She decided to inquire.
“Why do you look that way? Why are you the way you are?”
Fel’s eyes opened up a bit more, as though he was surprise to hear the question. And before responding, he tilted his head and spoke in a monotone voice worthy of a few sleeping audience members.
“Are you happy?”