Thursday, 16 August 2007

YesBut I’m all alone.

David MacMahon suggested the caption -

"Landlord to tardy tenant: `You're behind on your Wren cheques again’'

for YesBut’s Image on 23rd June 2007.

The photograph suggest the following story to me: -

By all recognised measures she was successful. Governments sought her advice. Multinational Companies invited her to become a non-executive member of their board of directors. She was the first woman to become the Chief Executive of a multinational oil company. Yet as she looked down on the City from her penthouse apartment inwardly she felt a failure.

She was too old now to become a mother, even if she had a partner, which she did not. She realised that while she commanded respect, there wasn’t a single person in the whole world who loved, even cared for her as herself. They merely respected the posts and positions she held. Her father had died when she was seventeen, she thought he might have loved her, but he was an aloof person who never showed his emotions. Her mother had died three years ago; she had been proud of her success, but when they met, it felt like meeting an acquaintance on a train. She truly regretted, she had been an only child, if only she had a young brother to love or an older sister to confide in. But she was alone, all alone.

She walked to the window clutching a cut glass tumbler half full of whisky in her hand. She had noticed over the last year, she was more and more seeking solace in a glass of whisky. The sound of the tinkling ice was reassuring. She looked down at the ants scurrying across the bridge on their way home. Home to what? Would there be a wife, husband or lover waiting for them? Would they quietly climb the stairs and peep through the half open door at their children sleeping? Or like her would they be returning to a lonely box, with the only comfort found going to the fridge getting the ingredients of a snack and a drink. Out there beyond the double glazed window was life, inside there was deathly ear shattering silence. She walked over to the TV and switched it on, not caring what channel it was tuned to, she just wanted the presence of another person in the room, even if it was only an electronic image on a plasma screen.

Returning to the window she saw the train leaving the station, on its way to suburbia and normality. She shuddered at the thought of normality: 2.4 children, a mortgage, sex on Sunday mornings, car in the drive, clean sparkling kitchen and bathroom. She knew she didn’t want, never had wanted normality. What did she want? She wanted people to see her as a person who wanted affection; who wanted people to talk to her as a person and not as a Chief Executive.

What was it all about? Not the money, she scoffed she didn’t even take a holiday - there was nobody to go with, she didn’t want to be pitied as a lonely spinster. Was it for the prestige? How many of those ants crossing the bridge would recognise her? Probably none. The power? Yes, it was nice to make decisions which would have long term consequences. But is that what life is all about? How you earned your livelihood! She was frightened. She realised there was only one way to step off the tread mill - to empty the Aspirin tablets into her whisky, sit in her favourite armchair drink the contents of the tumbler and wait for oblivion.

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