So I was absent from my blog for a few days, due to birthday celebrations, but now I am back and ready to share my words with the world.
So today’s post is a short story. I was watching Disney’s Tarzan and I started thinking about how he changed to be with the woman he loved. Most people find that romantic. “Awww he changed himself because he loves her!! That is the best thing a man can do for a woman!!” But when a woman changes herself for a man, it’s considered “unhealthy” and “degrading”.
During first semester of this past school year I took this English class that focused on 19th Century writers and their writing styles. One of the writers we studied was Nathaniel Hawthorne . He wrote a little play called the Crucible, if you haven’t heard of it you should read it. While he is best known for his play (and later the movie), my favorite piece by him is The Birthmark. It’s a short piece about a man that falls in love with a woman who has a miniature hand print in the form of a birthmark on her cheek. Other than this one minuscule flaw, she is perfect. In the end the birthmark derails the husband’s mind and he… well I don’t want to spoil the ending if you choose to read the story.
Anyway, we were asked to write a paper about perfection and give an example of how Hawthorne’s story is relevant in today’s world. Here is, Wishful Dreaming.
Green irises made contact with brown ones. In that instant spark, in that mysterious twinkle, she knew she would be his until she died.
She was a waitress at the local coffee shop, he was new in town. He had just transferred to the university and was a biology major, she too attended the university as an English major. He wanted to be a doctor and make thousands of dollars, she wanted nothing more than to be a simple librarian and live her life surrounded by books and coffee. He loved the city, she loved the small town life. It was as they say, “opposites attract”. They were mad for each other.
Jane was her name, but she was anything but plain. Her wavy, light brown hair twinkled in the sunlight. Whenever she turned her head, her hair fanned out in one smooth motion. Her laugh sent shivers down his spine, her eyes never grew dull. When she was sad, they glittered with tears, when she was angry, the fire scorched his soul. She had the perfect body, her curves were perfectly placed. Her breasts just large enough to squeeze, but not too big. Her backside just firm enough to make that perfect smacking sound, but not so hard he hurt his hand when he showed his affection for her.
His name was Kyle. He was tall, dark, and handsome. Her family approved, his family had money, and he loved her unconditionally. He was also really good in bed. It was no surprise to anyone that in their last semester of college together, he proposed. Two years later they were married and living in Los Angeles. He was a famous plastic surgeon, she owned three coffee shops and worked from home. A year later, she was pregnant with their first child.
It was a Tuesday when Kyle first noticed something different about his wife. It wasn’t the pregnancy glow, it wasn’t her new hair cut…. what was it? Then it hit him. Her face looked wrong.
“Jane dear. Are you using a different brand of makeup?”
Jane glanced up from the bootee she was crocheting, a craft her grandmother had taught her. “No dear. Why do you ask?”
“It must be this lighting… I swear something looks odd about your face…”
“Well I have aged quite a bit in the past few years. Maybe my face is starting to show it?” She giggled her little girl laugh, the laugh that used to send chills down Kyle’s spine. This time he got the chills, but not the pleasant chills he was accustomed to.
She was right. Time had finally caught up to his perfect wife. Wrinkles were starting to appear around her lips, the corners of her eyes, and on her forehead.
Kyle tried to fake a smile. He coughed and said, ” Well, if you ever want to get that fixed, I know a good plastic surgeon.” His fake laugh turned into a pathetic cough as Jane slowly lowered her crocheting needle and stared at him. The fire scorching not just his soul, but his whole body.
“Fix what exactly my loving husband?”
“I was only teasing my sweet. You are perfect the way you are!”
They sat in silence for the rest of the evening and did not make love that night.
As Kyle slept, he dreamed that Jane aged thirty years in one day while he stayed young and beautiful forever. He woke in a cold sweat, he hands and feet clammy. Jane lay beside him undisturbed.
As the weeks went on, Kyle cast doubtful glances at his wife. When she caught him staring he would quickly look away. After a few months had passed, he wouldn’t even meet her eye. Jane had had enough.
Kyle was in their room, watching TV as had become his custom. She knocked softly to announced her presence and approached the bed where he lay in a daze. Jane took the remote from Kyle and watched as the picture on the screen flicked from brightly colored to black. They sat in darkness for a moment before Jane spoke.
“Kyle I…” She didn’t know what to say. What could she say? The man that had loved her for so long was now a stranger. She couldn’t bare the idea of a divorce so she cleared her throat, balled her sweaty hands into fists and calmly stated. “If they bother you that much, you can do a little work to them…”
She heard a sigh, then felt hands grab her waist and a head rest on her bosom. They had sex that night for the fist time in months.
After Kyle had smoothed out her face, their marriage returned to normal. They even had sex regularly, even though she was six months pregnant. A few months later, Alik was born. They were the perfect family.
Kyle had his arm wrapped around Jane as they cuddled after a night of love making. Kyle looked down at Jane’e stretch marked stomach and realized she had gained weight. The more he looked, the more he realized this was no longer the same body he had fallen in love with.
“Jane, my sweet Jane. Would you do something for me if I asked?”
“Of course my loving husband.”
“Come to my office tomorrow. I can make you look beautiful again.”
The tension rested on top of the couple like a wool blanket. Finally Jane sighed and nodded her head. Kyle smiled and pulled her close to him. As he drifted off to sleep, he dreamed of her perfect body from all those years ago.
The next day Kyle brought Jane into one of his consulting rooms. Only it wasn’t the white room full of blinding harsh light she had seen once before. He had covered the room in pink, purple, and red fabrics so the light was a soft glow. The consulting chair was covered with a blanket and the room smelled of roses instead of chemicals. He lead her to the chair. She sat down, stiffly, as if her feet were tied down with rocks.
“I have been working on something my sweet. It’s a medicine that will burn away your fat in only a few hours. It will change the world!!” Kyle’s face lit up as he motioned for his assistant to go get the medicine. The assistant returned moments later with a plastic bottle containing a clear liquid. “It has no taste or smell, it will be like drinking air. You will get sleepy, don’t fight it. Sleep for as long as you need. When you awaken you will be the girl I fell in love with.”
Jane forced a smile, took the tiny cup the assistant handed her, and drank the medicine in one gulp. A few minutes later she was asleep.
Kyle stayed with his wife through the night and cancelled all of his appointments for the next morning. Around eleven o’clock, Jane started to stir. Kyle jumped from his seat and knelt by her side. He lightly took her hand and waited for her eyes to open.
Green irises met brown ones. Her smile was weak, her hand so cold.
“Jane? How are you feeling?” Kyle placed his other hand on top of hers, encasing her tiny, perfect hand in both of his.
“I’m dying Kyle. I just need you to know that I love you. I was waiting to tell you until tonight, as a celebration…” Her sentence trailed off as she fought for more air, begged her body to pump blood to to her heart for a few moments longer. “I’m pregnant.” Her voice was so feeble it was almost a whisper. “Take care of Alik. Tell him every day that his mommy loves him.” Jane blinked and for the first time, no light, or tears, or fire brightened her eyes.
Kyle sat in stunned silence for a few moments, still gripping his dead wife’s hand. Finally he looked down at her body. The body he had fallen in love with. He smiled as she realized he had created the answer to killing fat cells in only hours. He would be rich.
So the moral of the story is if humans continue trying to change themselves into these prefect ideas they have of themselves, the ultimate reality is death.