Saturday, November 6, 2010

A passel of pain

On Facebook I mentioned dredging up pain from my past to bring a character to life. Those who know me well can guess what I referred to. Here's the result of this exercise in self-torture:

Marie sank against Ellen and surprised herself by bursting into tears. They spilled from between her closed lids, hot and stinging, accompanied by sobs that shook her shoulders and tore at her throat. Shame suffused her body, shame at losing control of her emotions, shame at caring so deeply about her father's ongoing slight, shame at her actions toward Bill Henry, who had only been trying to help her, after all. She sobbed on, despite Ellen's comforting embrace, despite her father's claim that he would see to her wants and needs, knowing that marriage to a reluctant Tom would never bring her the happiness Ellen enjoyed. Then she sobbed because she was a hypocrite, begrudging Ellen her joy because she was miserable. Finally, she sobbed because James was gone. James had left them, and she didn't know if she would ever see him again. Her last exchange with him had been to belittle his pain, to berate him for his heedless flight from grief. She had not said goodbye.

Do you harbor pain? Can you use it somehow to help others?