And don’t we all have our gashes. That wound that is just yours, in your secret tender spot. 100 people, poked in that particular place, might wince, might slap away a tiny sting in irritation. But you, you can’t stand even the thinnest chafe, the warmest puff of wind. The nerves are inflamed, torn muscles swollen, exposed, and raw to the bone.
If you don’t know me, you can dislike me. That is not my wound. You can be grossed out by my weight and scowly face. You can say my books gave you brain damage. You can dread having to talk to me as I shamble toward you.
If you meet me, and you spend 15 minutes with me…well then I rescind my offer. Now you should like me. For I am likable. This is my wound.
Loud and odd and awkward but I will suit you, I will. You’ll fascinate me and I’ll be happy I’ve found you. I’ll find joy in you in 15 minutes. WE will find it. And you’ll have no reason.
Sometimes you hit just to the left of my torn flesh. That happens when I understand you. That you have sound reasons. You’re too young. You’re too busy. Life has knocked you around and you don’t care for anyone much. Or you think I’m too snobby, or too trailer park. I’m both, that’s fine. You like comfortable people who don’t throw curveballs. That makes me blue, but it’s ok. I get it. And we go on separate and peaceful.
But the History Museum folks…the ones, not all, who decided I was bad. They found that gap in my flesh as if they were paramedics trained to triage in seconds. And then then stuck gnarled and thick fingers deep inside. And twisted.
“We should like you. We’re active and intelligent, we love the things you love. We don’t like you. You can’t be part of our club. You offend us. With your trashy books. With your impudence. With your childishness.
You talked about forbidden things. You made small movements without Simon says.
You asked for help as you did it.
You don’t deserve help. You need to fail. Spitting and gasping and confused. We won’t even tell you to your face why we’re mad. Part of the punishment is your confusion.”
I watch the other museum folk slap it all away with a sigh…a gnat, not even a biter.
I bend at the waste and howl because o god how it hurts.
I lost my museum. My Brunk. I could still go, the Brunkers are few and kind. They actually knew me, and they forgave me for being strange. But the governing body will oust me eventually. And I cannot stand around and smile while they sharpen swords.
Though I have been told not to come to the larger museum that sponsors Brunk. I’m too controversial. I’ll upset the better, more valuable volunteers.
I lost my little shop. I lost the dried and stiff old silk skirts that I’d gently brush with the back of my hand. I lost the Facebook page that I’d nudged to life. I lost the joy in making sure whichever member of the tour had been dragged to the museum against their will found something COOL.
I could stay. Some would prefer, I was not without value. In fact everything I began profited.
I can’t work well if I’m bleeding all over the exhibits. I can’t teach a little class soaking in my own blood. I can’t giggle with the children over the chamber pots when every nerve in that wound is on fire.
Brunk House hasn’t changed, the quiet kind ones are still there, but I can’t survive like they do. Head down, make no trouble. Stay inside the safety bubble that insulates them from a sick society and a dying museum. I can’t get in those bubbles, they pop if I try. Outside of them, all I can feel is how much I hurt, and that it was done with intent or worse, indifference.
And if this entry was a bit milky, the thrust of it is, don’t worry about the fundraiser mentioned in the previous entry. I shut it down, it was too large and demanding for one chaperone alone. And impossible to do while around the people who fished inside my guts looking for more evidence of my mis-fit.