I wrote this at the height of the “Gaslighting” phase of my two-year relationship with a Narcissist Predator. It’s really strange to go back and read my poetry and short stories from the period. Such highs! Such lows… So much love and romance but also black despair and suicidal tendencies. Scrolling through my journals, I found this draft and smiled a little. It is a sarcastic satirical and black-humoured piece. I was trying to cope with the assemblage of hoydens he’d gathered by writing about them the way he talked about them – never could figure why they just kept on lurking despite his insistence that “they were stalkers, knew he was engaged, were jealous of me”… Anyywaayy…
What I see now is the inkling of my comprehension of the pattern, how Apaths of varying degrees fit in to my story, lending credence, alibis or window-dressing as he required. Truly amazing, the effort he expended to keep me fooled or manipulate me to do certain things (my favourite was “Baby, would you comment more on my blog? People love to see us as a real couple, not just our books”) The funniest part is that “The Ladies” written about here are indeed real people, unlike some of the ones he created. Bruce Jenner had nothing on my poet! And I can actually smile, if ruefully at that today.
When I look back on how it all went down, I see it as if I was in a horror movie, a very bad, B-grade horror movie.
You know the ones, where you’re in a normal place, doing regular things and you look up to see that everything has gone to black and white. What you thought were people have all morphed into scary doll creatures or zombies and they’ve all turned to stare at you. Meanwhile, bit players drop in and out, talking to the zombie vampire people, buying their coffees, talking and laughing and totally oblivious to the fact that we are now all in a Hammer Film production. You look at this and wonder, like I still do; how can they not see the evil intent? How can they not know that those smiling mouths are full of lies and those pious old gals, gardening grannies and wholesome looking farmers’ daughter types are all bent on messing with lives out of unbridled jealousy and hatred and for their own twisted amusement? You want to yell, “Don’t open the door!” to the protagonist but… it’s you.
All of that came later though. When I first stumbled across it, the cafe was a fun place to be, good eats, good coffee and the owner had a smile and a poem for everyone. It was easy to see that the regulars at the banquette table at the back were indulging in some pretty serious geriatric flirting with the Café owner. He took it good naturedly, and it was nice to see that even those who could barely spell; always received a kind word of encouragement. There were no signs of the undercurrents of crazy when everyone connected to this story first met. Actually, in a Stepford Wives way, the regulars welcomed newcomers in.
That’s how I first became acquainted with them. The Ladies. Or as I later came to think of them: The Post Menopausal & Poseur Poetaster Club, of the Internet Poetry Café.
I like alliteration. Deal with it.
You remember how it was, right? Lots of laughs, inspiration and folks coming and going at all hours, The Ladies gathered at their table; Hist’mina Munchhausen Fibthorne – “Wheezy” to her friends, Maia Witless Artesian, Guerensy Rime Mooerson and Cheri Del’Usional Aprils. All chatting it up with the cafe owner, smiles, moues, coy glances and “What do you think of my stories?” “Can you help me with this sonnet?”
Who ever would have guessed that such ordinary looking grannies, could harbour thoughts worthy of “Arsenic and Old Lace”, not to mention a healthy dose of “Fatal Attraction?” Fitting analogy that. A tale of sinister plots, deceptive old dolls and a plot twist: married and attached gals who would lie, cheat and write their own men out of the script for a chance to get into the handsome Café owner’s pants.
I never would have guessed, naive I suppose. I saw a nice place to stop in to, my battered journals in hand and to share some thoughts with the regulars, The Ladies of the Banquette. Mentors, right? That’s what I was thinking at first.
Monsters, more like.
More like indeed! Like attracts like doesn’t it? As the Café grew in popularity, newcomers joined the original self-appointed harem. Des DoubledipmyBunn and Anglésa BlueWindyChapeau decided to write themselves in. Fortunately, the Café owner was more a fan of Albert Camus than Archie comics.
Then there was me. Quietly observing, scribbling away as I always had . How could I know that the Café owner would take an interest in my stories? Who ever would have thought that this would so stir the ire of The Ladies and later, their minions? Not me. That’s for damn sure. I walked in there like a lamb to slaughter, they had their poisoned pens aimed and the hot flashes got hotter.
But that’s another story for another day…