Dear Marilyn

You don’t like me. Helen said it’s because you don’t like people who ‘play the victim’ and you had hoped that she would end up with someone ‘more like Sarah’. This is frustrating because I don’t want to create some void between you and your daughter by being an awkward shadow that occasionally comes to dinner. So let me explain.

For people like me being in a social situation is always like I’m stumbling around in a big noisy party. Everything is too bright, loud and non of the touching is welcome. No, I don’t want to hug or shake hands. Please don’t invite me to join the ten way conversation; trying to hear you in here is like looking down a mud pipe. This social dance is a maze. Everyone else seems to have some internal set of directions where as I am trying to use non inherent skill. I can’t compete with you. I never will. That’s why I am not trying, it’s not because I’m rude or stand offish. We are just different.

Maybe that’s not why you don’t like me though. Maybe it’s because you see me as ‘playing the victim’. I’m not really sure what that means to you but I’m guessing it’s probably something like ‘youthful apathy’. I’ve never complained about my life to you or really anyone not because I’m stoic or something, it’s just not in my comfort zone. So it must be something Helen has said to you or just the way I appear. Neither of those things are within my control, so I have no explanations for you. And I don’t think it would bring me comfort in this pretend letter to actually go into detail about why my life is a mess that I struggle to amend. Yes, it brings me down. Yes sometimes I feel apathetic about it. But it’s not as if I don’t try. Sadly I think Helens opinion about this aspect of me has changed since we first met. She once said that I was ‘brave’ for persisting, for not giving up when most people would. I think she may see my efforts as futile now. I don’t have any good justifications for this yet, I just feel it’s an impending argument we will have. Like there is tension building. She is impatient for things to be better. This is why I suspect you have this impression of apathy. You seem more justified in your dislike of me, which means something has changed. The only thing between us that exists is Helen and her opinion. The real nail in the coffin was your husbands disposition, the last time we met.   

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