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Stalking the Average Man


-You use love as a weapon to manipulate people according to your moods, | she said, flatly,
-I'll survive without your affection if need be, but I have no intention of changing who I am for
anyone. |
-Sorry if it came out wrong, | I said, letting go and taking a step back. -You know
diplomacy isn't my strong suit. | I grinned crookedly.
-That‘s because you never stayed long enough to develop it with anyone who disagreed
with you, and there was nothing inadvertent about your remark. It was calculated to see if I care
more about keeping your company than I do about speaking my mind. |
-We‘ve established that I‘m not a strategic thinker. | I cocked my head.
-Thinking has nothing to do with it, | Bonnie said, continuing her serene assault. -Your
predisposition is to manipulate social exchanges so that you can tell people how to act, while
establishing the terms of a treaty before a hostile word is even spoken. |
Caught in the undertow of whatever was really on her mind, I thought the only safe escape
was to go with the flow until I could edge my way out of her current focus.
Giving her comment a moment‘s thought, I said, -I think that‘s how everyone negotiates
relationships. Our tone and facial expressions are essentially saying, =This is what I‘m like. If
you don‘t like it, we can each move on. If you do, we can dance the next step.‘ |
-Personal peace can‘t be negotiated. It requires that one confronts their flaws, like yours of
baiting mini battles to establish a right-of-way through people's hearts. |
I was about to call her on the feint, of shifting from peaceful relationships to personal
peace, but I realized this would probably make her misery about me when her tra nquil savaging
of my innocent comment had to be about Josh. So it would remain.
-I‘ll throw myself down the stairs as punishment if that will help. |
-Not even if the issue was about forgiveness, | she said coolly.
"Notwithstanding that I have apologized—almost twice? | I said, with a boyish grin.
-Your rough charm and contrived sincerity don‘t fool me. You not only avoided taking
responsibility for your comment, you shuffled it back on me. |
-How about this, | I said as I took a step down, -I won't be charming so you won't be
concerned about being fooled, and neither of us will feel like we have to change anything while
we eat? Let‘s go. |
-Or you'll go without me? |
-What? |
-You don't realize how you telegraph your intentions, because you're so entrenched in self-
defense that even trivial circumstances become negotiations over who is in charge. |
-Because I took a step closer to the restaurant? |
-Because you can‘t just like someone: you are always confirming your status with me, and
testing your position in ways you don‘t realize, like every time you stamp your approval by
saying 'done' instead of, 'that sounds like a good idea, | or, 'Thanks Bonnie, I'll try that.‘ |
Dragging her coat, she closed the physical gap between us. -Somewhere along the way, you saw
yourself as a product of a world you abhor, which is why you use words as weapons whenever
anyone threatens your moral hideout by suggesting you're one of them. |
-One of them? |
-Them,‘ is everyone who has been tricked into doing the unspeakable, because they are told
from the cradle that it is necessary, then they are betrayed ; they realize their actions became
necessary only because they agreed to participate. This is why trick and betray are synonymous
to you. |
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