Monday, February 15, 2010

LXXIX: Susan VIII: Leonore

"I liked Leonore with Clarke," Susan told me in bed last night. "She was good for him."

"No! What?"

"I always saw him around town," she said. "Now I never see him unless it's over here."

"Yeah, but he hates going out."

"Jesus. Who hates going out?"

I smiled. "Well, she never let up with him."

"But she's so nice."

"Of course. She's lovely," I said. "But he was miserable and she couldn't fathom why. I think she loved the version of him that pursued her, but didn't like the realization that that's just a role men play sometimes. It's part of the game. You're not supposed to like the game. Only assholes are like that all the time."

"Oh God. I hate when people talk like this." Susan's voice betrayed some frustration with our emerging battle of the sexes. "She just wanted him to make an effort."

"I think she wanted that effort to be too much on her terms," I argued, defending my side.

"Well, if it's on his terms it's not much of an effort is it?" she asked.

"I don't know what we're talking about anymore. This is too abstract."

"You just say that 'cos you're losing the argument."

I laughed. She laughed. I imagined Clarke next door, sleeping or watching TV. I contemplated his amusement if he could overhear our conversation.

"Clarke makes a social life seem like such a weight," Susan said. "Does it have to be a burden, just saying hello to someone?"

"I dunno. Yeah, sure. Sometimes."

"Who wants that?"

"I'm sure he doesn't want it," I said, feeling like Susan was misunderstanding something important. "It's the same thing for Leonore. I don't see how Clarke not wanting to go out is so different from her not wanting to stay in. It was such a burden for her sitting around the house with him, but that's who he is."

"It's probably not who she fell in love with," said Susan, quietly.

"That's true." I tried to reason the whole thing out. "He played the game of pursuit 'cos he liked her -and it worked; but she liked the game version of him better than the real version. It's the game that's the problem."

"Listen to yourself." Susan poked my ribs with a finger and giggled.

"No. This is what I really think."

"Is it?" She cuddled into me. "She wanted one thing, he wanted something else. Why can't everyone want the same thing?"


Jon Coutts said...

You know you're both right!

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

As usual.

joel said...

This is some really good writing Mat. Good dialogue.

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

Thanks Joel.

forrest said...

I really appreciate how the bedroom conversation is put into perspective by, "I imagined Clarke next door, sleeping or watching TV. I contemplated his amusement if he could overhear our conversation." The characters reveal themselves through each other, through their constant - even when only mystical, imagined, reactive - interactions.