Allegory: The Death of Half-Girl

23 12 2016

They called her half-girl.  Everyone she met, they only saw half, so they just called her half-girl.  Walking through the city, the noises were so loud, and she would pass them all in wonder.  They were on their phones and typing away on their glossy screens as they missed it all.  She boarded the subway, and she would get a few casual, momentary glances, and they would revert back to their gloss.  Those screens that connected them to another time and place.  Everyday, she made the ride into the city and each night, she made the ride out.  When she first got her job, she would board the train, and eagerly look for someone to talk to, to connect to.  Eventually, she realized that she was perceived as a bother, and began to stare out the window.  The ride got familiar and boring, so eventually she brought a book.

Once at work, she was a daycare teacher.  There, the anonymity of her ride in faded, and these students knew her.  She led her kids to the bathroom, to lunch, to naptime, recess, bathroom, and snack time.  The day was relentless, with dragons and knights, princesses and school teachers playing house. She’d clean up after the day was over, their mommies and daddies would retrieve them, they’d go home and she’d go home.  Just to do it all over again the next day.  Going home was a combination of exhaustion and loneliness, fueled by a desire to know the world as she knew her students.  But no one looked up at her, so she made the lonely ride again.

Until one day, their indifference didn’t bother her anymore.  She was numb to the fact that she was only half understood.  Numb to the fact that  no one desired to know her more than halfway.  Numb that no one was a knight, or a princess, or a schoolteacher that played house, numb that everyone was in a romance with the gloss instead of each other.  She was the half-girl, and that was her identity.  Called so, because that was all that they saw, and they called her that, because they knew they only saw half, and they recognized that.  She became content with that.  She became content with them only seeing part and understanding the exterior and what they wanted to think about her as being enough.  She became numb, like they did.  It didn’t bother her anymore.  She watched, as another rosey-eyed innocent dreamer boarded the train, and others shrugged, and she ignored her too.  She had become part of the masses.  She watched as day by day, the life was sucked out of that dreamer, and they, too, were a mass.

No longer were her students masses.  They no longer asked her details about her life, and they no longer wanted to dream.  Her job became numbers and letters instead of character and imagination and knights and dragons.  Her job, she was told,  was to “squish imagination.”  “Make them faceless, masses!”  She was ordered to “suck out individuality and squash it like an insignificant bug and burn it like a pest.”  So of course, she massively complied.  The job became a paycheck, and she conformed.

But they still called her half-girl, because they recognized that she wasn’t supposed to be this way.  Everyone else went by a number, but they never called her that.  It didn’t stick.  Half-girl she was known, and half girl she would stay.  Everyone recognized that she was different, and would always be different, never known as anything else.  But no one wanted to know her as other than half-girl.

One morning, she awoke with a start.  She had a dream.  And in that dream, she was walking through this house.  The name of the house was masses.  On this hallway, there were rows of numbered doors.  Behind door 3204, a boy in her class was standing, staring at a wall, she had squished his dream of being an artist.  She walked through door 7804, and she saw the girl that rode the train with her each day, the dewey-eyed dreamer she had ignored, laying on the floor staring at the ceiling.  She rounded the corner to go through 6423, and saw her boss staring out of a window, into a dark sky.  She saw 3271 cracked, and she saw a girl who lived on her street that liked to play with trucks, she was sitting on the floor, mindlessly staring at the door.  She closed that door and behind door 9843, a man who rode the train each day, holding a blank newspaper, sitting on a couch. Each of these people was faceless, with what looked as strips of linen across where their face should be, robbed of any detail that made them who they were.   Then, she saw 7373, her number.  She stopped at the door, staring at those numbers, how she had previously longed for them to call her that!  She grasped the doorknob and pushed it open, and saw herself.  Her hands were hanging at her side, lifeless and cold.  Her legs were limp and vacant of life.  And where her eyes should have been were cloth strips.  Her body was motionless, next to a tipped-over chair, hung by a noose.

As she was awaking, she pulled her covers off with a start.  She realized that being half-girl or mass was not enough.  It wasn’t who she was.  She was not destined to allow others to only see the parts they wanted to see.  To do anything less that be the whole of herself would be suicide, the murder of the best parts of herself.  She realized, what a gift it would be to be her whole self and to not rob the world of who she was.  So she bounded out of the door, got on the subway train and the car flew into the city.  With each person she passed, she got their attention, distracted them from the gloss for a moment and said “Hi, I’m Miranda Branson, who are you?”

It didn’t matter their response or their acceptance.  She would no longer be half-girl.

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