Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Roy / Christine: Comforts of (someone else's) home

It would be nice to hover outside myself, on a Sunday morning, and just observe Terry and Christine as a couple, lying in bed, having breakfast together, going for a drive. So far this experience has been dotted by nice little things like that, guilty pleasures considering they have been taken from somebody else and given to me.

I have to admit, it's nice to have this level of comfort. I know I've never had a relationship that functions as well as Terry and Christine's probably does. Let's just say I don't tend to date the kind of guys who stay the night and cuddle all morning. There was a time I would never have thought that's what I wanted either.

We've gotten into this nice routine that works fairly well considering who and what I am. I work most days, come home and have dinner. We watch TV and drink wine, snuggled up on the couch, and then go to bed. The young married life. Suits me fine. Besides his occasionally kisses and pats on the butt, Terry isn't overly forward, and now that I've gotten to know him a bit more I don't shudder at the idea of having his arms around me. I'm just trying not to enjoy it too much.

There's the problem, isn't it? This isn't my life and if it were, I probably wouldn't give Terry a second look on the street, let alone sit through date night with him... he's pudgy and balding and currently out of work, and sometimes very particular about things while also having huge blind spots about other things. But I like having stepped into this comfort zone, this well-worn relationship where I'm not trying to impress him, nor he me. Even though I am patently not his wife, he treats me like I am and I just... accept it, I guess. Maybe she and I aren't such different people. Who knows.

Or maybe, and this is a hypothesis that might freak the others out too much if I say it but I need to put it out there... maybe I'm more than just Christine's body right now. I'm not talking about memories or habits or things like that, but that ineffable something that makes a person who they are. I feel like me, like Roy, but I catch myself responding to things ever so slightly differently than Roy would have. We don't know the true nature of this curse, and we don't even know the true nature of the human mind, so how one affects the other is entirely uncharted territory. Maybe Christine left more of herself with me than we could know.

It's not crazy. It's a known fact that concussions, strokes and brain traumas can change peoples' personalities. We like to think we are this single unchanging thing, but we're not, we're a bunch of complicated wires bathing in hormones, and those hormones are provided by the body. My mind, all my memories of myself are currently swimming in the stuff that made Christine who she was. Maybe this isn't news to you readers, but to me it's fascinating and scary. It's like losing yourself, but not.

Maybe it's not that big a deal, or maybe it's just a bigger deal to me than the others because I am "in the thick" of it with Terry here. I'm just saying there might be a deeper reason why the smell of his cologne triggers a strangely warm feeling inside me, why I can both be frustrated with him as a human and find him oddly appealing as a man. And maybe I'm more receptive to it than the others because I've had to think more about who and what I am, in life than these kids who are now wearing the faces of slightly older women and men. I hope that, when and if they realize something truly strange is going on, it doesn't put them off too much.

The difference between them and me is that right now, they have the option to ignore it, and I don't. But at least it doesn't feel as much like torture like I was afraid it would.

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