Exasperated

I took down the posts about that Tik Tok star because I feel bad. She probably massively exaggerated and concocted her identity on Tik Tok and frankly I would be slightly suspicious of many things she claims about herself. …But…she is an author. A self-published one. And having friends my age who are writers with their own Wikipedia page or other easily graded career accomplishments as writers, I know it’s not a crazy pipe dream to be published properly, so to speak (and there is my family heritage but that was also over a hundred years ago and times have changed). …But I plan to self-publish. By choice. And I respect her desire to write for the sake of putting her very own thoughts on a page on principle and not for prestige.

I wish I knew her true full story. I’m not an evil-hearted gossip but I do find people fascinating. Genuinely so.

She’s either a slightly terrible person or a good person who has been very tough. At least, that’s what I’d guess. Maybe both, intermittently. I don’t know. It’s fascinating.

Joe Sr. imagines Lacey staring at this woman’s soul with vicious intensity and what he calls, “profound curiosity.” The same way she looks at everyone’s soul, possibly.

“Do you think people look at you that way?” wonders Lem.

Lacey turns around as if interrupted from sleep.

“This life has been one long sightseeing trip for you. Hasn’t it?” he asks.

“Oh dear God, help us! Lem why do you do this her?!” asks Louis.

“Not truly by choice. But once I figured-out my self, so to speak, I did decide to just watch.” Lacey decides.

“Because you assume no one is intrigued by you?” asks Lem.

“Lem…no one is intrigued by me.” Lacey responds.

And at that Lem breaks into tears. Out of empathy, but it’s only mildly endearing to her. Michael, hands in pockets, looks at her somewhat stoically in understanding.

“And that’s why you and Lem fall apart. He apparently had no idea how brutal some lives can be without making you crass, particularly evil, cruel or disassociated. You’re sweet but…you talk to us out of necessity at times.” says Louis.

Silence.

“You wouldn’t want to think God was crying over you either. Would you?” asks Louis.

“No. It seems…insulting and hurtful.”

Lem stops crying abruptly.

“I understand.” says Michael.

“Do you?” asks Lacey.

“How do you deal with your pain?” asks Lem.

“I keep it stored away in boxes. If you exist I’ll unpack it, when it’s safe. Although…it’s not like I never feel it. And it’s not like I ignore it. It’s just…what it is.” *she shrugs* “I cried once in Seattle over it all and, of course, when no one was there to comfort me as per usual since late childhood…I adjusted. I learned to-“

Michael starts laughing.

Lacey smiles.

“What?”

“Your ability to handle pain amuses me given who you’re talking to.” he says without judgement but in reference to Lem.

Silence.

“Is it genetic?” asks Lacey.

Michael glares at her kindly.

“You just focus on us. Or them. And find every inch of everyone’s humanity enthralling. It’s so wonderfully distracting to you…you feel that if you’re towing the line…you can give yourself license to completely ignore yourself.” Lem looks at her. “I’ve been heartless with you, it’s true. Because you do know yourself…but you’ve always ignored yourself too. Not too much. You take very good care of yourself. …But it’s made you frighteningly selfless, in a way.”

Michael sighs.

“Are we messed-up?” she asks Michael about them both.

Lem raises his hand in protest.

“You’re going to just direct yourself to him? But you love me more. I can tell.”

“Are we talking too much about me?” she asks.

“No!” says Michael.

“How do you do that? Because you really are redirecting yourself to love him.” asks Lem.

“I am in touch with my pain. And I recall the feeling of getting lost a few times in big stores as a child and being terrified I was going to get kidnapped if I didn’t find my parents. And then the feeling of finding them. Michael feels like finding my parents. And no, I don’t mean he’s familiar in a bad way. Nor do I mean anything pedophilic. He’s like being rescued.”

“We all have been like that to her except for you, Lem.” says Louis.

“Hey! Lem why…why is that? Do you care about her or are you just a demon?” asks Harold.

“Of course I do.”

“Michael, thank you for caring about everyone so much.” says Lacey.

“He is like that. It’s true.” says Lem.

“I just wish I knew which one of you I belong to so I could stop wasting everyone’s time.” says Lacey.

“What if you’ve already heard and you just can’t believe it?” wonders Louis.

“That’s likely. I just can’t believe God is letting me talk to you all.” says Lacey.

“This should be your last post with us for at least a while.” suggests Louis.

“Lem I’m just terrified someone will be unhappy.” says Lacey.

“What about you?!” he asks and it sounds vindictive not loving, at first.

“I can’t figure it out.”

“Don’t. It’s okay!” says Michael.

Elliott smiles at her. But she refuses his interest. Lem is intrigued by that. She’s always found him attractive and at least smiled back politely. He thinks.

“You just really need someone to tell you what to do?!” Lem asks in amazement.

“Some would say that’s evil. Others would find it enchanting.” offers Lacey.

“Off to sleep! Enough of this silliness.” says Louis.

“Fair enough.” says Lacey.

“Not quite yet.” says Michael.

Silence.

Lacey sits and thinks.