This is a short I wrote for a class about two hours before it was due.
“Fuck”, Jane thinks. “What am I doing?”
Exhale; eyes cracked open Jane rolls to her left, cautiously gazing at the lump next to her. Her mind is a thunderstorm; cloudy with exhaustion from a poor night’s sleep and pounding with a headache from too much wine. She drags her aching eyes to the clock that reads 6:00am. She knows she has stayed too long already. Her ailing conscience, not yet dead but weak from years of abuse, attempts to push the consequences of last nights actions to the forefront of her mind. Instinctively she shuts it down with the more pressing problem of locating her belongings. She absentmindedly runs her fingers through her tousled hair. As she does so, the mass of flesh next to her moves slightly and she flinches, beginning to scan the room more fervently. Her annoyed gaze finally lands on her pants and purse. Jane slowly, expertly, removes herself from the bed without waking it’s contents. She quickly dresses herself, having mastered ‘the day after’ look years ago. Turning to the full length mirror by the door, she wipes her smudged eyeliner back into place. Once she is satisfied with the state of her face, she picks up her purse and looks at the rumpled duvet with the body heaped beneath it. The whole night was a familiar haze. Another bed, another hangover.
As she continues looking at the bed, her conscience, in one last dying spurt of adrenaline, throws a face across her minds eye. John. The guilt floods her so unexpectedly, its sudden presence rather than its catalyst, cause her to panic for a moment.
“What am I doing?” she repeats to herself.
Before remorse and horror set in, Jane quickly regains composure over her inner self.
“I am only doing what comes naturally.” she thinks. “I have to right to live a free life, besides, this time I swear is the last time.”
She knows she is outright lying to herself, but the lies feel so soothing she lets them in, and like an opiate they flood her with a false sense of calm. She turns to the door thinking about her day ahead. A quick stop home to shower and coffee is a must.
“You used again last night, well the key here is to not let it happen again.” Jane sits on the overstuffed couch of the therapist’s office. She feels swallowed up by the engorged piece of furniture, bloated by the absorption of inappropriate feelings and tears let loose in its room. Her therapist was treating her promiscuity as a drug addiction, a new age approach as it were. Each of her sexual encounters was equated to shooting up dope by her therapist. Jane thought this an incredibly chaste way to look at her problem and found it hard to see a parallel, but she allowed the good doctor to lecture on. “So how are you and Jack doing?” The therapist asks.
Jane feels this is a trick question, and she hesitates to answer it. She picks at her normally well kept manicure and after tossing around cause and effect she answers, “Fine, all things considered.”
Her answer is completely false. Her relationship was in shambles. Neither she, nor Jack, wanted to face the world alone so they clung to the corpse of romance inflating its dead lungs with therapy appointments and scheduled sex. She understood that her problems with fidelity caused most of the pain, she wanted freedom but not the solitude that often comes with it. Jack just wanted her. It was his ‘ultimatum’ to visit with the doctor once a week or he would leave. He gave her a way out and she instead withstood, the weekly, ignorant judgments of her therapist on things that a doctorate could not even begin to explain.
She sincerely loved Jack. This is fact, when Jane saw Jack her heart still fluttered and she could picture their life together. She imagined their perfect children and how they would spend their golden years together and each vision gave her a sense of right. It was this heart felt love that confused her because she had an insatiable appetite for men. Whenever she saw a man on the street all she wanted to do was know him. She wanted to understand the world at its most savage and vulnerable, and for the modern man, that state was only reached in bed. Once she had conquered and understood another being, her thirst was quenched but only momentarily and she was on to learn more. These actions sat in direct conflict of what love was supposed to be. How could she love a man and want to fuck another? These were the burning questions she wanted to ask her therapist but didn’t for fear of not getting an answer. The sessions were useless in her eyes. She lied about half the time and the rest of the time she skillfully evaded giving a full or even relevant answers. She was convinced that the way she lived was just before its time.
After her therapist was finished haranguing her about the power of mind over body, Jane got into her car and started to drive home. She pondered the closing argument of her therapist, the idea that her mind was stronger than her body. This notion frightened her. Jane knew that it was her mind that drove her to act the way she did. The physicality was just a medium for the tactile information absorbed by her mind. Her body was all that kept her sane. Often times while driving Jane would get these sudden impulses to violently jerk the wheel of her car and send it purposely flying off the road. She wanted to understand the rush of making rash decision, the exhilaration before impact, it was all very romantic and sensual to her. It was her body’s registration of pain that stopped her each time from turning the wheel. If what her therapist said was true, her mind would overpower her body, it was a matter of time. Jane looked at the road in front of her, her eyes coming back into focus from her musings. She suddenly realized with a shock she was lost. Instead of reaching for a map, or a phone she drove on, faster and faster. As the road opened up before her she understood that she had long let her mind decide what she did, not her body, it was her body that was holding her back. She held the wheel steady, her speed increasing, and then suddenly without a decipherable reason she turned the wheel.