April 3, 2013

Madwoman in the Attic (For Megan)

Now that there’s been a half year’s time and space between us, I think I’ve really begun to see where we went wrong. To put it into terms you’d understand, you wanted a Mr. Rochester but got a Bertha Mason instead. 

I know you fancy yourself a twenty-first century Jane.  Well- read, interested in just barely pushing the rules of propriety, and witty when it came down to it, it was easy enough for you to project Plain Jane onto yourself. 

The plot requires a Byronic hero. I certainly appeared the tortured, closed-off, and eternally brooding part. My female gender added a forbidden air.  What excitement! What mystery! 

 I’m sure you felt so accomplished when, on what was supposed to be a fun night, I started crying for no reason and for every reason

And so I told you about me and about my life, such as it is with the Things One Doesn’t Usually Talk About.
“When will you feel better?” you said.
“I won’t,” I said.
“I can make it better,” you said.                            
“You can’t,” I said.

Love does not conquer all. This is not Silver Linings Playbook. There is no “whole” person just inside my smashed-up exterior who is waiting for you to release her; the madwoman you saw is who I am. No amount of love will change that. I’m “unfixable,” beyond your saving and apparently beyond comprehension.  You realized that the woman you’d slotted for hero(ine) was wrong for the role entirely. I don’t know if it was panic or confusion that swept in when it dawned that you’d found a Bertha Mason. 

I’m done apologizing to you and others like you, because once I’ve thrown myself off the metaphorical roof, you can listen to the ringing wedding bells of the perfect gothic romance. It’s the way of the world as well as the way of literature. For who am I to you anyway but some story you can tell about that crazy girl who fell in love with you once, a plot device to keep true heterosexual love apart?

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