Story: Strings

Seems there are always strings attached to deeds of humans. Though they may be invisible, there is something obvious in that expectant look and the aftermath of disappointment.

Nothing was ever actually stated, but nonetheless, it, whatever it was, was expected.

I’m not making a case for altruism here–heavens no–I’m the last to do so considering my predicament; however, I do make a case for human liberty–and a good case it is too, for without those invisible bindings our species may just jump a level in social evolution. We would learn something about human interaction and relationships.

Recently I have unfettered to some degree. I still have strings, as most of us do–knowingly or not–but something changed when I found myself in the midst of bad choices. A snapping of the strings occurred (quite loudly too!) and I said “No thanks.”

We all have options/choices available no matter the circumstance. That’s how we get through life. We make the choice, act on it and proceed to the next.

To summarize as briefly as possible I will say the situation was this:

I am a two-month unemployed, broke (but not broken:) middle-aged woman. I was living with my oldest adult daughter (call her daughter #1), helping take care of the grandchildren while looking for another job.

Unfortunately we were all staying at the apartment of her new boyfriend (referred to here as Boom-Boom or BB for short)   and staggered between staying at a local motel and the apartment.

One particular night the boyfriend became aggressive with me and though he never laid a hand on me, I left the apartment with a sick feeling.

We had two days left at the motel ’til check-out.

BB’s ex-roomate (we shall call him Tommy here) rented in the same motel on the opposite side. He was closer to work and he believed Daughter #1 and the kids would get tired of BB’s antics and stay nearby indefinitely.

Once he learned that check-out time loomed, he made an offer (which I considered seriously for a few minutes) of sharing a room with me. No strings, he said.

He would switch from his single occupancy to our double. His work hours were such that by the time he would be laying down, I would be rising for the day.

When the time came to check out, the manager standing at the door wondering why we had not and daughter #1 absent (with the only vehicle we had) and failing to answer her cell phone. Tommy had still not spoken to the manager about switching rooms.

When my daughter did show up, she did so in the company of the unstable, ever-present Boom-Boom. He sat on the driver’s side of the vehicle pretending (as he so often does) this was his property.

Again, to summarize briefly, when all was said and done, the expectation was I would stay in Tommy’s room (perhaps sleep on the floor?) to which I said no. Worse (for me) when I expressed the need for my daughter to take me to a nearby town, so I could find another place to stay, she expected me to ride in the vehicle with the unstable (ever-present) BB. Did I mention he is bald and pretends that he cannot hear?

The snapping of the strings occurred. A few sharp words I gave her, threw the backpack upon my back and began walking toward the next town.

Something happened between then and now. A resolution of some sort. Perhaps a bit of exhaustion.

Whatever it was, I realized the most logical choice expected of me was to stay anywhere with a roof over my head, no matter the company I had to suffer. We are programmed to believe that the roof, walls and door will keep us safe–these are buffers against a hostile world. Whatever goes on inside has to be better than outside. The company of others, no matter who they be is better than alone.

Something we know, perhaps unconsciously, tells us this is not true. There is a way (perhaps unfitting of social expectations), but it is the way of our own path.

It may take anger, love or exhaustion that finally gets us on to that path and one may face the difficult this or that, before the strings finally begin to snap.


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