• saoirse_ 52w

    #15

    Take a keen drag from that cigarette. You read Normal People a couple months ago, before you knew it was to be a TV series. You did not really understand what the hype was about. Some cow of a brash and privileged (failed) yesteryear actress extolled the book’s virtues in her column, and you thought, “Eh, her satire is good enough, maybe she hits the mark with this one”. You thought it was virtually unheard of and thought it was a passable read.

    You read Normal People when you were at your parents' place. Funny, how you could choose to be there back then. A few negotiations back and forth and you’ve yielded. You shall leave your haven where you live as yourself in exchange for a couple days playing the role of a perfect daughter who knows the perfect balance of being old enough but not too old enough. One doesn’t need to spell out just how much of PerfectDaughter™ is a mystery to her makers.

    You’re resting your head on the sill of the train window. The music you’re listening to is amazing, or so you think. It is forgettable, at best. An alert pings on your phone. They’re making a Hulu series on Normal People. You’re a little gobsmacked. Normal People was supposed to be this niche thing you thought no one else had read. You tell your boyfriend about this coincidence that seems to have shaken your world in that moment. He doesn’t really get it, but he says the right things at the right places. You both have established that you’ll watch this series while he wrestles the joystick for dear life. This is how it should be, right?

    Back to today. You’re on the sill of the window this time with that cigarette. This student house doesn’t allow you to smoke indoors, the smoke alarm will wake the building if it goes off and 3 am is anyway an unholy hour. No music. You’re in your feelings anyway. You hate the taste of cigarettes, you smoke menthol ones to make it bearable. You hate the smell it leaves on your fingers. You spray perfume on them to mask it. Smoking too many make you feel squeamish. You dry retch twice and settle saying “I’m fine!” Why are you smoking? Life is SO hard. Marianne smokes and today you see yourself in her. Your on-the-surface relationship is now mirrored onto Marianne and Connell’s “deep one”. You’re finding problems that aren’t really there. Where is your mind?

    It’s been three months since you smoked that cigarette on the edge (of the window). You don’t smoke anymore. You’re afraid it’ll give you premature wrinkles and stained teeth. (Love the focus on the pertinent things, don’t we?) The joystick wrestler and you are testing yourselves with another hurdle. You’re both like a person who takes a doctor’s aptitude test when all they want to be is a ballerina. PerfectDaughter™ is now a myth. Her mysteries unravelled like the end of a nice Agatha Christie novel. Reality was doled out in doses to your makers in a manner Columnist Cow has never tasted. You stopped somewhere in the middle of episode six of Normal People. Life is so far from normal and the emotionalist in you wants everything back to Normal.

    Funny how when you were Normal People you thought you were anything but.

    Saoirse

    baby steps.

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