Alas! the love of women! it is known
To be a lovely and a fearful thing;
For all of theirs upon that die is thrown,
And if 'tis lost, life hath no more to bring
To them but mockeries of the past alone,
And their revenge is as the tiger's spring,
Deadly, and quick, and crushing; yet, as real
Torture is theirs, what they inflict they feel.
-From Lord Byron's "Don Juan"
Byron said that a woman's love is both beautiful and dangerous, and woe to the man who trifles with that love because she's going to exact her vengeance on him, even though it's going to hurt her too. What a romantic image this passage evokes: that of a woman scorned and, blinded by pain and anger, unsheathes her claws to emasculate he who hurt her, to claim glorious retribution for the slight committed against her -- even though she might hurt all the more because of it. I love Byron's poetry, but does what he wrote ever happen in real life? Well, sure it does, sometimes. Remember Lorena Bobbitt? (I can imagine men clutching at their thingies while cringing at the memory of what she did to John Wayne Bobbitt.)
Well, this Manic Monday post is a true story about a woman scorned.
That's stretching it a bit though; she could hardly be called a woman because she was just a teenager then. Nevertheless, she fell in love, and she loved her boy with all the love that her little teenage heart was capable of producing. Sadly, he only felt the same way only a short time (if he ever did) because he dumped her for another girl. Our protagonist took it quite well, all things considered. Sure, she cried for days at a time. Then she went through an extended fit of anger, holding late-night powwow sessions with the girlfriends to dream up the most exquisite ways of torturing the ex and making him suffer.
But after the initial period of tears and anger, things settled down and she accepted things well enough to start communicating with the ex once more. They became, if not quite friends, at least good acquaintances again. Sometimes they'd go out or just spend time sitting around, talking and laughing. She spent her 18th birthday with him; he took her out to dinner and they went dancing afterwards (a mark of the depth of her feelings for him because she doesn't like to dance in public). She saw once again all the things about him that captured her (such as his wit and his effortless dancing) and even though she enjoyed the evening, behind the laughter a thought flitted subtly through her mind like a threatening undercurrent: Someday you are going to regret what you did. You'll be sorry you ever let me go.
Fast forward to a dozen years or so. Our erstwhile teenage female is a teenager no longer. She is standing on a corner in one of the city's shopping districts, trying to hail a taxi--which is damn near impossible during rush hour. Then she hears someone calling her name. A voice she hasn't heard in years. A ghost from the past. She turns slowly, as if in a dream, and sees the ex.
She is speechless, watching helplessly as he approaches her with the easy gait she remembers he always had. The words "Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit" run like a mantra through her mind. He is looking as good as he ever did. She, on the other hand, is feeling hot, sweaty, tired, and a wee bit grumpy. Her arms are aching from all the bags she's carrying. To top it all off... she's heavily pregnant. And she doesn't look remotely anything like those gloriously pregnant women you see in works of art. Oh, no. Let's just say that if a film producer was looking to cast a female Asian Moby Dick, she wouldn't have had to audition and she would've aced the role. Also, she had the thick ankles that Moby Dick didn't.
The ex reaches her side and while he's smiling and making pleasant chit-chat, his eyes are all but shouting "WTF happened to you?"
Someone up there sure has a sick sense of humor sometimes. Why, oh why, couldn't their paths have crossed again when she was svelte and had dainty ankles? Why did he have to chance upon her at the moment when her svelte self was buried deep beneath the flesh-and-blood incarnation of a Sherman tank?
Since her most ardent prayers for the earth to open up and swallow her are being ignored, she does the only thing she can do, which is to smile and make some pleasant conversation back. And all the while thinking: "Byron, you young romantic nincompoop. You were so full of crap."
There was no avenging tiger in evidence that day. Just one despondent whale.