When Bernadette turned 48 years old, she knew that she would not be able to go on as she had before. She knew then that all attempts at subterfuge and sophistry would come to naught. She knew that her web of beliefs had been exposed for the falseness and treachery that they were. She had been exposed. She had finally come loose from the firmament of middle class morality. Bernadette was undone.
Up until then it was of not much significance that the cost of a dress could be the same as another person’s monthly wage. It was of no real consequence that the cost of an airplane ticket might solve another family’s financial crisis. It mattered only briefly that to attend Shakespeare’s Globe comes at the same price as another’s heating bill. Naturally, Bernadette, did think about these things. Her mother, eminent scholar and formidable ethicist, had tortured the young Bernadette with confounding questions about morals since she could speak her first words. But, in the past, the denouement of such musings would, minimally, be a sort of vague uneasiness, a confusion about what is right. At best it would result in finding another charity or visiting her dying, senile aunt. Sometimes just watching Sir David Attenborough expound the nature of Nature would bring relief. Learning a new language, particularly of those least favoured by the world economic system, would positively induce feelings of moral superiority in Bernadette. The point is, a sense of well-being and moral ease, could be achieved with relatively little effort.
Bernadette, looking into the mirror, waiting for the French lotions to take action that morning, knew evil had set in. It had set in with the knowledge thereof. And the romantic poets knew this would happen long before Bernadette was a twinkle in her father’s beautiful and wandering eye. In the past, in Bernadette’s youth, when her body was nubile and milky white, and when her mind was like a sapling, yielding and filled with hope, she could find ways to approve of herself. But when she became 48, and the world presented as brittle stories with definite edges, a just world was not credible anymore. And her moral goodness was not credible either. For the likes of Bernadette, her evil nature reared its monstrous head; it rose like the truest scion of this defunct world in which everyone fights for a bit of light. A world where the light is just a chipped, plastic sequin dangling over a dirty dance floor. Nothing more than that.
If all this seems a tad dramatic, a little too dark, Bernadette suggests that you, you esteemed reader, look to Al Jazeera. Look to The Guardian. Look to The Beijing Review. Look to the International Socialist Review. Look to the Great World Wide Web. Look and tell the scribe how brilliantly astute Bernadette is. I shall convey your compliments to her. Presently, she is fitting a dress and eating mozzarella boconcini.