Eshew Obfuscation

Eshew Obfuscation

A Story by Shelley Holt-Lowrey
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The lifelong journey of two girls who find a commonality in language, vocabulary and teenage angst.

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Audrey… my best friend in high school and early adult years. When we found one another, we were two lost souls seeking someone to understand us. In typical teenage-girl fashion, we quickly became fused at the hip, one unable to do anything without the other. We raised each other through turbulent times when we were no longer willing to allow our parents the privilege of doing so. In retrospect, I see that I was lost only in the most common of teenage angst. She, on the other had, was on her way to being truly lost. She carried with her a past full of violence and other abuses that should never be visited upon a little girl. In any event, we found in one another a love of language, cheap wine, and a strong curiosity about the darker sides of life.

During the early years, we would try to impress one another with what little we knew. What grounded me was where I came from. As she never knew this luxury what kept her steady were her words. She believed that words held the power to convert those who disliked her, to wound those who harmed her, and to transform her into the person she most wanted to be… Anybody Else. Words could make her past an amusing anecdote, rather than the cruel narrative that it was.

She was, and still is, the only one I know who can humble me simply with vocabulary. Mine is expansive; hers immense. I once told her, “You don’t need to use your big words with me. I love you no matter what.” This humbled her. She had never known love given for the sake of itself. She didn’t know what to do with this, and eventually retreated back into her words. We continued to court the darkness.

In our early adult years, we walked hand-in-hand into that darkness. Inevitably, we got lost. She in her way. I in mine. We would bump into one another from time to time… but the connection we’d once believed unbreakable was by then a hazy memory, clouded by chemicals and shame. I became unable to carry her forward with me, and eventually we became completely lost to one another. She will always be the great love of my life from those years. When I say the words “Best Friend”, her face still comes to mind.

Recently while taking some time with myself, into my head popped the words I’d seen on a bumper sticker years ago: “Eschew Obfuscation!” It made me think of her; my Teenage-Soul-Sister with the vocabulary of a Rhodes Scholar. Where are you now? Are you still employing the Big Words in an effort to prove yourself? Are you still hiding in your darkness? Will you ever find, as I have, that the only place to find your worth is in the truth and beauty of the light? That the only thing that awaits within your comforting darkness is violence? Does your past hold you victim there still? I miss the beautiful girl that I once knew. Does she even exist anymore, or did the ghosts of her past succeed in killing her spirit after all?

I am still very much drawn to those darker places. They silently beckon me. Promising a quiet comforting numbness, and a tomblike place for my spirit to lie when there is no energy left. Still I succumb willingly to that darkness, but now carry with me my creature comforts: my dreary music, my sinister books, and the anger I wrap around myself for warmth. But, as ever, just as I begin to believe that I am where I belong, I feel the heat of the sun at my back… gently calling me home, as one would a willful and wayward child. Back to the world in which my spirit resides. Back to the world of light.

I emerge from the darkness refreshed yet confused, and embrace the warmth that has never truly left me. All the while knowing it’s only a matter of time until I retreat back into the darkness that calls to me still.

As for Audrey, I still hear from her from time to time. She quit the name Audrey long ago. Audrey, a name whose root meaning is noble and strong and so perfectly suited to the young girl I once knew is no longer. She calls herself Mimi now. A name one bestows upon a dowager queen, so suited to whom she’s always believed herself to be.

From time to time, I try calling out to her. A whisper in the wind. A quiet prayer during a moment of reflection. A cry when I see a bumper sticker proclaiming to “Eschew Obfuscation”.

Audrey… I miss you! Though I know you cannot hear me, I will continue to try all the same.

© 2012 Shelley Holt-Lowrey


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Featured Review

this is beautifully written. one of the saddest things in life to me is the fact that there are so many endings in it. things and people lost for so many reasons. i'm sure there are some of my old friends who think of me the way you think of audrey. lost to the darkness. but it's all in one's perspective. i haven't embraced the darkness as much as i've embraced uncertainty. this rankles my faith-full friends and gives us very little common ground to maintain a friendship. perhaps mimi is doing what she needs to do to survive. love doesn't have to be returned. just keep on loving her.


Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

A very poignant story. It made me sad to think of your friend, one of the many lost souls that inhabit our planet. I wish we lived in a world where everyone loved and was loved, but it doesn't take long to realize that is far from the case.

Posted 7 Years Ago


this is beautifully written. one of the saddest things in life to me is the fact that there are so many endings in it. things and people lost for so many reasons. i'm sure there are some of my old friends who think of me the way you think of audrey. lost to the darkness. but it's all in one's perspective. i haven't embraced the darkness as much as i've embraced uncertainty. this rankles my faith-full friends and gives us very little common ground to maintain a friendship. perhaps mimi is doing what she needs to do to survive. love doesn't have to be returned. just keep on loving her.


Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

i've yet to read one of your vignettes that i'm not deeply touched...you continue emerge as an insightful and compassionate person

Posted 7 Years Ago


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EMF
Right.... The review... Two worded this one... Perfect. Publish.

Hope that leaves no room for doubt

Posted 7 Years Ago


good memory write. You peaked my curiosity in wanting to know a specific event the two of you shared, and you kept mentioning "the dark side" and I wanted to know exactly what that was or what exactly one aspect of that was. This is an emotional piece and those are hard to write, at least for me. Keep it simple and show a defining moment that illustrates the feelings you've expressed here. The story of this friendship has tons of potential, probably beyond one story.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

People have to WANT to turn a page...it's up to us to help them decide to do that. Again good heart, structure and flow. The hint of "more" was throughout.

Posted 7 Years Ago


Very well-written and engaging. I think I understand how you feel, in that I, too, have a couple of estranged best friends. In a perfect world, best friends would surely be forever.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Well written and beautiful, what a gift

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Thank you for this, it is well written and I enjoyed reading it. I liked learning about Audrey but I am left with wanting to know more about what happened when words lost their power to protect her and you both 'got lost'. What came between you two and pretty much destroyed the friendship? I think it deserved more than a paragraph or two. Or maybe that's another story?

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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398 Views
9 Reviews
Added on March 30, 2012
Last Updated on March 30, 2012
Tags: short story, girlfriends, abuse, hope, friendship