Thursday, 11 August 2016

Bernadette's Face

Bernadette’s mother, imminent scholar and great intellectual, had relentlessly cautioned Bernadette about the vagaries of social networking. But Bernadette was always more her father’s daughter; a girl with a propensity for the fickleness of fashion and capriciousness of social success. However, it would be a mistake to, therefore, think that she was not capable of the sort of scholarly gravitas that her mother was. Lo! not in the least. Bernadette was prodigiously talented. She simply did not think that book learning would bring her any joy. And Bernadette believed everything she thought. This was an ongoing luxury, which she had gifted herself on her sixth birthday.

Social networking is something she indulged in several times a week. Many times her social networking engagement consisted of finding interesting photographs to illustrate some thought she was compelled to share. Mostly the search for the photograph, illustration or digital representation of a renaissance or medieval painting ended in a choice which was completely unrelated to her initial thought. But Bernadette was unperturbed by the absence of an overt relationship between the thought and the illustration thereof. She always believed that rationality is overrated. As with self-criticism.

However, despite her own penchant for the wistful and vapid in herself, Bernadette could not tolerate such qualities in others. (This should come as no surprise to the Reader; that Bernadette permits herself to hold inconsistent views was explained in the previous paragraph.) It was her aversion for the vulgar immediacy of venting feelings, ill-considered and subjective, and of articulating thoughts, uncritical and messy, that made her her mother’s child. And such venting and articulating was a singular function of social networking. She would sit, wrapped in emerald green silks (if on Wednesday, fuchsia lambs’ wool if on Friday), and let her warm tears flow, as she read the upbraiding by those who thought they finally have reason to hate her. She listened to them find the petty flaws among her many perfections, and watched her enemies turn them inside out, expose them to the world or simply whisper tiny poisons in her ear. She would listen as they make her failings louder and uglier than they really are and then felt them discarding her, their social networking victim, slowly palpitating like a dying heart in the wet drains of her own despair. Left for dead.

It was always at this point (being left for dead) that Bernadette would turn her face, the epitome of pre-Raphaelite perfection, towards a cold, small glass of Vodka on her table. She would drink deeply. She would turn off the life of that garish, uncouth world, knowing it would nevertheless unrelentingly continue. But she would feel bravery and clear headedness saturate her being with another cold, small glass of Vodka. She would dress in an armour of silver and gold satin, with a helmet of pearls, take up her Vorpal Sword (thanks to Lewis Carol), and dance with Only Everyone Who Loves Her, until the sun comes up. 

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