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The Existential Woman

Chapter Two; page 42

By Shanon NormanPublished 6 months ago 4 min read
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Ballerina Warrior (painting by Shanon Norman)

Norman and Shanna shared his small house. He had added an apartment to the house where the old garage used to be. Shanna had thought at first that he had done so for either him or her to live in and enjoy, so that they wouldn't have to be "room mates" anymore. But that wasn't on his mind at all. Instead he signed up for some program through some charitable organization which helped place homeless people in suitable housing. He got some kind of kick back for his donation.

So a couple moved in. Shanna was disappointed. She would often think of the three most glamorous apartment buildings she had visited and inquired about. They had everything there. A beautiful swimming pool, exercise room, cafe, computer lab, social area, ample parking, garage options, gorgeous views, carpeted floors, roofs that didn't leak, and she had wanted that lifestyle so desperately. One of those apartments had the kitchen of her dreams. A kitchen that would inspire any wannabe cook to greatness. She never had a kitchen like that. And at her age, with all her failures, all her rejections, and all her internalized pain, she believed that all or any of her desires for such luxuries or fine living were just another way to torture her soul --- a hope that would only cause her heart more disappointment. Better to continue her poverty stricken life with a sense of acceptance than to let hope break her heart any further.

Norman was a true workaholic. Monday through Saturday for the past 14 years that she had called him "famly" again, that's all he did. Work, work, work. He detested her pity parties and was blind to her suffering. What cut? What bruise? What arthritis? What pain? His was always worse. He was always better than her. He was always stronger. He was always the winner and she was always the loser. She was just a pathetic demon. A pathetic user and loser who should learn to only say one thing "Thank you". Any other words from her mouth were just another reason to despise her. She was worthless. Why couldn't she just die so that he didn't have to see her stupid body in his house anymore? A reminder that his stupid parents didn't just fuck up once making him, but had to fuck up twice and make her too.

Then he would hear his mother or father's voice in his head. "She's your sister. She's your blood. You owe it to the family to be kind to her. She was there for you when you had no idea she was there. For however you didn't love your parents, you should at least try to love her." These thoughts plagued him so he would try.

He had plenty of entertainment channels hooked up to his computer and television. When he'd come home after work, if she cooked something he liked, he'd eat and sit before one of the silver screens to enjoy a show. If she didn't cook, he'd warm up some ramen noodles and sit in front of one of the screens anyway. Sometimes she would try to eat with him and sit with him and watch a show together again like they had done in their other home ten years ago.

But she wasn't the same woman. She couldn't enjoy the shows like she had in the past. Shanna would sit there and watch this show or that show with Norman, and although he could find something entertaining or valuable about it, she could not. Her dark brown eyes just flared up green with envy. There was no show on any screen that looked anything like her life or like her reality. There was no education in that, and she did not find it enjoyable to view perfect people living perfect lives and having everything when the only thing that was real to her was pain and the daily struggle. Playing video games was more entertaining than suffering the view of "perfect people" in their "perfect lives". She detested the shows more than he detested her whining.

So they both carried on. Norman worked and worked almost every day with the exception of Sunday. Shanna moped around, just trying to survive the pain of each day. Her loneliness, her emptiness, the meaninglessness of life. If she cleaned the house, it was just to kill time or to improve her mood. If she did any decorating or gardening, it was more like how the wind blows against or around a tree, or how a river flows naturally within the earth. She was like the wind and the water. And her earthy fire was as cold as ice, as if a once beloved and worshipped volcano had been buried under glaciers.

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Shanon Norman

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