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Shivvies

Siobhan "Shivvies" Clarke

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Shivvies    59

Living the Dream

I did not have an absent father nor an abusive mother secretly accusing me for her long dead and buried dreams.

I actually was surrounded by love, compassion, insane amounts of patience… and probably a good dose of denial.

I was very young and had no idea why people worried about such petty things. I did not understand the worried looks, the late night whispers, bloodshot eyes of my loving mother… I knew I was supposed to act like the other kids, it was just one slip up and I didn’t think it was important. First mistake made. Never to be repeated again. Check.

That’s when my parents took me to the nice lady with the glasses and the tape recorder. I remember sitting in that room many times, noting little things, trying to understand what made my doctor tick. The way she put her tape recorder down on the coffee table at the same angle every time and the way she crossed her legs before saying, in the sweetest but distant voice “So, Siobhan…”

That’s what made me see what I needed to understand these sad lot who seemed to have all kinds of limitations in the way they moved about in life, almost scurried past it, with no regard to reason.

It was easy to change Ms Garcia’s mind about her initial diagnosis of ASPD. Years later, she would even recommend me for her own school, Columbia – which was not the best I could do but was best for my purposes. She was there to support me, in her words, when I came out to my family as a bisexual young woman. She even came to a couple of Christmas dinners – having no family of her own other than a long decomposed body whose memories she tightly clung.

I still remember smiling with just the right mix of happiness and thankfulness in my eyes when Professor Hart congratulated me on my graduation day. I knew my father was hoping for me to come home but his pride at my early admission to criminal psychology graduate programme knew no bounds. Kissed my mother, hugged her, a single tear in my eye. Check.

Finally I was free to play.

It took me some time to learn the ropes in NYC. I had a legitimate job where I could refine my understanding of my fellow human beings; I had Molly the assistant, my “confidante”; my studies were almost finished; and the girlfriend of the month was actually so dreamy, according to my colleagues and my study group, I could have her around for more of that sympathetic kick with a touch of envy for the “perfect relationship” people around me craved. The dynamics surrounding Molly and Kate were so amusing I almost went overboard with it once or twice, waiting before replying to Kate’s worried texts disguised as small talk maybe a touch too long at lunch with Molly, accidentally letting Molly know that, no, actually I can’t make it to the office party as my girlfriend was... well, would you believe if I said under the weather now?

Then it all changed. My universe expanded. Kate, Molly, jobs, facades, all that lost all meaning.

Evidently, there was a whole, hidden truth behind it all and my thirst for deconstructing things, understanding them and thus having power over them had a whole new venue to run rampant like the wildfire that ran in my veins.

The first time it hit me, the first time I felt the surge of power through me, it was a wildcard, something I had no control over and I never had no control over anything.

I felt fear for the first time.

It was not long before I learnt to channel this terrifying tsunami into a calm breeze but the couple of days before I could, were pure and absolute horror. Lesson learnt. Check.

The “secret” signs they wanted me to follow, to reach the Labyrinth, were almost too… easy. To extents that made me second guess myself. But it was all very clear the moment I met Kirsten. Her layers upon layers of intellect, her mask, it was so perfect I felt kinship for the first time in my life. Check.

It was all a game of Go for her. It was all a game of Chess for the whole society. She introduced new rules and changed the game to her liking. It was my only dream.

And yes, now that I’m this Visionary, an elite agent among “my people” I am living the dream. Check. 

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