Fiction: The La Di Da Lady Part Twelve

Part Twelve

Envy. You might know it – it’s that thing with the horns. People say envy turns you green. I think it turns you grey. And not the pretty, grey, the one you see in the early mornings when dawn’s just breaking.

I get envy these days. I used to think the grownups were so silly to keep cautioning us about it – what did I want with other people’s things? If I saw something someone else had that I wanted, I just thought about whatever I had that they didn’t and I felt a whole lot better.

Envy isn’t dangerous when you have things. I used to have lots of things, and I was free with them because there was no real danger in the lending, or even giving. If I wanted it again, I’d simply ask, and that would be it.

I had a really fulfilled childhood, like I said. The only thing I didn’t have was my parents’ attention – and I couldn’t really feel envy about that because no one else did either. As much as they ignored me for one another, they didn’t ever pay that attention to someone else. It was just always the two of them, fused together and lost in one another.

I didn’t envy S because things were fair between us. Even though I was younger, there were no eldest privileges, not that I could see anyway. I lived my life free of envy.

When I look at my boss, I’m grey. When I look at the ‘friends’ whose lives fill my online feeds, I’m grey. When I think of my parents, I’m grey.

The truth is that I feel envy all the time these days. I envy my parents their undying love for one another even as I know how destructive it is. I envy Soph her independence even though I know it hurts her to have it. I envy everyone because it seems like they all have at least something. And I have nothing.

I can’t remember what true, make you grin ‘til your cheeks hurt happiness feels like. I used to know. One of my uncles would grab me and lift me high in the air, tickling me and making me scream. Long after I should have been too heavy for him to bother with, he still did it, no doubt because I pouted and sulked if he didn’t.

That uncle now doesn’t speak to S. He barely speaks to me. Our family’s been blown apart by death and sickness and debt. I understand why he retreated, I wanted to retreat as well. He had the chance and he took it. So did the rest of them. I don’t begrudge it. I just wish things were different.

I miss them, sometimes. More often, I wish I missed them. You’re meant to miss people, aren’t you? Going numb means you’re wrong.

Means I’m wrong.

I hate being wrong. I hate being uncomfortable. I’m meant to be on top of the world. That’s what I wanted with my life and it’s what I was promised I’d get.

It’s not fair. It’s not fair that my family collapsed. It’s not fair that I don’t get to study what I want. It’s not fair that I haven’t let the country, or even the city for over a year because we’re paying a fortune to keep our parents co-dependent even though Mom isn’t even there anymore.

I hate this. I hate being an adult. I want someone to take care of me again. I want to never know the price of eggs and think of my bank card as unlimited because it might as well be. I know I sound like a spoilt brat – AND I AM. I am a spoilt brat because that’s what my family raised me as. I don’t know how to be different.

I don’t want to be different. I want to be little, bratty me again. Before I knew what envy was. Before I knew what pain was. Back when I could giggle myself into a stomach ache and everyone would fret over me and coo at me.

I want to be a child. There’s just one problem – no one who ever parented me is around anymore and S isn’t a parent, she’s a drill sergeant.

I don’t know why I’m so upset. I should be relaxed and feeling good. Life is easier than it’s been for months, and I actually have some savings. They’re miniscule, but still. They’re there.

Things are better. I should be a hell of a lot happier. I should be celebrating with cake, or chocolate, or whatever.

This sucks. Emotions are so freaking unreliable.

I just stuffed half a body’s worth of mashed potatoes in my mouth. That helped a lot. Now… I guess I should go talk to S? She’s not in the best mood either, obviously. We’re sitting at home while she wants to be in Morocco and I want to be in New York. I don’t know why I even open social media any more, it just depresses me.

I can’t not be on there anymore, though. I’d be completely out of the loop, it would be beyond embarrassing. Worse than having to lie about where we are and why we’re staying home. I mean, there’s only so many times you can say “we’re having a staycation” before people start to get that annoying, knowing look in their eyes and you have to retreat in shame.

They should all just mind their own business. We all should, actually. But then, what would anyone talk about? Be honest, you know full well that all people talk about is other people. Gossip is what keeps any and all social gathering from descending into awkward silence. Without it, all we’d have to discuss would be whatever the resident over sharer wanted to tell the whole room, which is less than interesting.

Society would grind to a swift halt without gossip. We’d have to become interesting, the prayer aunties would have to actually pray, the men… well, I dunno about the men actually. Cars would still exist, so I guess they’d be fine.

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