The Curtains Have Fallen

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Crimes to the Third Degree.

The curtains fell, and I am not “Kiddo” any longer.

Flying By Night novel

I never asked for the nickname and I’m not sure how or why it was in the collective consciousness of everyone within 3000 miles of me, but it no longer applies and I no longer answer to it. It must be a past-life thing: since I was three years old, friends and strangers alike have called me “Kiddo,” as recently as a month ago and just as often by people ten years my junior all the way to men who could be my grandfather. And it’s almost always in an affectionate way, so I usually let it pass.

But no more of that. It no longer fits my attitude or my life.

Something’s happened over the course of the past few weeks. I’m finding that I’m quite…comfortable…with myself. I like the place I’m at, mentally and spiritually. Emotionally, too. I’m just really settling into who I am and what I want, without taking on all the influences around me. Best I can tell, I’ve worked through all my divorce issues and rarely even talk about them anymore, except to journal out my catharsis immediately upon the mood’s striking…and then it’s gone. The rest of my time is now focused on creativity and home life and discovering new things and new people. I’m finally reaching a point of contentment and positivity that comes from guarding against negative influences.

Not that other people are any too happy with this new comfort level I’m finding!

For example, I run into Lisa at a community event. She remembers me from “before”…before my divorce, before my healing, before I reclaimed myself. Before certain latent talents began to blossom. She brags about her psychic gifts and her healing gifts and her perfect children and perfect marriage. She doesn’t know how I’ve changed. She doesn’t know how much I see now or what’s happened with my own gifts. She asks my opinion on a “tiny problem” with her husband, and I give it to her. I know the instant the words leave my lips that it’s dead-on. So does she. She gets defensive. This is a Lorna she doesn’t know, one who doesn’t need her constant instruction in relationships. One who could make her feel better about her own marital problems by having a worse love relationship than she has. She’s confused. She needs me to be needy, malleable. I’m not. Not anymore.

There’s another group of women I work with who are “concerned” about me. I’m not the Lorna who relied on them in the past. I’m not the Lorna whose devastation and attempts to rebuild were their favorite subjects for so long. I’m not the Galatea for their Pygmalion, their favorite little makeover in their own image. Because I rebel against what they want me to do and be, they get “protective” and try to fix me, try to manipulate and bring me back in line with what they see as the right way for me to be. They overstep their bounds…and I recede. And they do it all for my “own good,” never bothering to realize that they really don’t know what my own good is. Instead, they focus on their indignation that I don’t follow their orders and that I should be more grateful for their “help.” They need me not to grow and change—what will they do for entertainment otherwise?

Women aren’t the only ones, though. There are men in my life who expect the same Lorna as before. They need certain things to still mean a lot to me, but I’ve walked away from those attachments. How dare I? It just makes them angry, more controlling. And that just makes me walk away even faster.

I’m being shown so many things now that I never saw before, and that changes everything. I’m in the midst of seeing a mind-blowing deception when I hear a crash in the family room. I run in to find Shannon, propped between the green wall and purple wall and lifting the window with her left hand while catching the bamboo blinds with her right and holding them in place with her brow. I’m surprised that the bamboo curtain fell and wonder if it means anything.

And then, five minutes later, the curtain across my bedroom door crashes to the ground (yes, I like curtained doorways). Before I can fix either, a third curtain falls in another part of the house. What the—?

So the curtains have been coming down. The blinds. The veils. I’m seeing different things in this new light, both in others and in myself. It’s a sunnier place, and warmer.

Let the curtains stay at my feet. “Kiddo” isn’t walking around naked anymore under interrogation lights.

She’s gone.


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