Sean returns to his semi-detached house
dad is bellowing in front of the football
tells Sean about that rising actor
who turned out to be a faggot
It’s all over the news and dad jeers
while mum laughs and nods
Sean forces a smile, blending in, always blending in
closes his eyes and recalls Luke’s face when his lips part
Sarah gets the children ready for bed
bed time story, smells their lovely heads
fixes dinner as he’ll be home soon
opens a bottle of wine and braces herself
Will he be all smiles or in one of his moods?
The anxiety of not knowing is suffocating
Sarah blinks incessantly while unconsciously
tracing the outline of her fading bruises with her fingers
Isabel lives a privileged lifestyle
mum is a casting agent, dad a lawyer
nothing is good enough for their princess
exclusive schools, private tutors – only the best
Isabel wants no career but lots of children
free to be whatever they wish, unburdened
Yet she cannot fail her parent’s high expectations
and dreams in silence in her gilded cage
Mark gets home from his soul-crushing job
is greeted by the whiny nasal tones
of the wife who despises him
constantly reproaches him for his mediocrity
a son who doesn’t speak or even looks at him
When did my own flesh and blood
turn into a stranger wonders Mark,
is it when my wife starting hating me?
4 different examples, I only scratched the surface – there could be hundreds.
Who’s to say which pain is greatest?
Who suffers the most?
There isn’t a monopoly of pain and suffering. We are all made of different stuff but we all have the capacity to bleed and hurt.
This was inspired by a very interesting and lengthy conversation with someone who was of the opinion that there is a “degree” of pain, that it can be measured on a scale, that certain situations are worse than others, regardless of the type of people involved.
He didn’t manage to convince me: some survive bullying, rape, emotional or physical abuse…while others don’t. Different situations, different people, some fall and break at the first hurdle while others manage to fight and overcome horrific events.
Who has the ability to judge? Who even has the right?
Image credit: nataliadeprina.deviantart.com