Thursday, January 22, 2004
Yeah, I guess I understand feeling that way
Went to talk to Sam/Shelly today. It wasn't quite so cordial as last time.
Which is kind of to be expected; I'd sort of hoped we could be friends, or at least someone to talk to who understands the rather unique circumstances that the other is under, but maybe that's a bit much to expect. Maybe it just wasn't the best day to do it - I noticed Dimitri was a little cranky in the office today, so maybe there was some sort of fight at Casa Gubanov last night or this morning.
I was kind of pushy, too, I think. I was asking a whole bunch of questions - did you ever have any sort of problem with these eyes, or had any dental work done, have you ever had a mammogram - and if you're having a bad day, it's not a great thing to be reminded that somebody else is living the life that you're supposed to have, the one that you were born with. That's the way she put it - "I love Dimitri, I do, and I know that it must have been a let-down for you to go from being a successful professional with a college degree to a girl who answers phones and no-one takes seriously, but look at me! I'm selling things on the street and staying at my boyfriend's apartment because I've got nowhere else to go!"
"Shelly," I said, "if I could trade places with you, make you feel whole again, I'd do it. I don't want to be stealing anyone's life."
"Bully for you. But you can't. And how would you like it if the guy who took your body moved back to Boston and was always around, and you had to see people talking about him all the time? Could you stand it?"
"I... I don't know. It's different, though - he meant to take my body, and he's probably the guy who took yours, originally. I'd be worried about what he's up to."
"Oh, so you're above just plain old resentment. That must be nice."
"That's not what I'm saying--"
"But that's how I feel. Look, I think you're a decent person, and part of what I resent is you're probably making a better life with that body than I ever could. I just can't watch you do it. I... I need you to stay away from me, at least for a while."
I tried to argue with her, but she's right. I would absolutely freak if I came face-to-face with "Martin", especially if he was doing well and had his rich girlfriend with him, even if he were as blameless as I am. I made Shelly promise me she'd email me if she learned anything, and she gave me an address to use in case of emergencies, making it clear that it would have to be something huge for me to intrude on her life again.
I wonder how long she's felt that way. Maybe I just caught her on a good day last week; a lot of what she said had the sound of something she's wanted to say for a long time. But, then again, it's not like I haven't rehearsed what I'd want to say to the guy in my original body if I met him on the street. I don't know if I'd have the nerve to stand up to him, or not just fly into some sort of violent range.
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