Warning: If you find this and you care about me – destroy this immediately. Do not read. Thank you in advance.
I may be better or I may be worse. I am not who you think I am. If you knew me as I really am, you would not love me.
Monday Dear Diary. Is this how you do it? It seems so awkward. I never did this before but my grief counselor said to. Oh well. Here goes. He told me to be completely honest, no one will read it.
I don’t know what to write. It was a horrible weekend. Is it okay to say that? I mean, the funeral and all. Mama was a mess after losing Becca, her favorite, of course. But we got through it. We didn’t talk. Some of Becca’s friends did. Quiet, small and short. Good. I don’t even remember the reception.
Tuesday Dear Diary, Me again. Mama and I went through Becca’s clothes and stuff. She let me pick some dresses and other stuff I like. We’re the same size, so… no point in tossing it. Becca wouldn’t let me borrow stuff before…
Wednesday Me again. (Who else?) Went to grief group. Kind of depressing. All anyone talks about is their dead relatives. Boo-hoo-hoo! I’m supposed to care about a bunch of strangers? I didn’t talk. How many times can I say how much I miss Becca? As if…
And if I said what I really think – they’d throw me out. I adored her, of course. But what if I’m angry? Becca – my big sister the star. The pretty one. With me and her biggest fan, Mama.
Daddy went away long ago. Mama never talked about that. Now it’s me and Mama. I’ll try to fit Becca’s shoes. All for Mama. Now I can be the star.
Thursday Back again. So much in a week. So weird. Like a dream. I can’t believe it happened at all. A life time ago. Literally.
When Becca confided in me I kept her confidence. She swore me to secrecy. She wanted to slip away with as little fuss as possible. Why she chose to tell me, I don’t know.
She showed me the sleeping pills she’d collected from Mama’s scrip. She said, “Sometimes you know when the time is up.” She described how with drowning when you stop the struggle, “you just fade to black.”
I argued with her. “Don’t end it all. Change what you can’t stand.” She gave me that ‘you’ll understand when you’re older’ look.
I should have said something. But I didn’t want to break my word. I guess I’ll always carry that. It isn’t fair. She left me with this weight. Her final gift to me. Good old Becca. I didn’t believe she would go there. She was the star!
She told me to keep any extra pills I found. I might want them for myself.
Of course, I found the body. I wanted to protect Mom from the sight. But I knew when to look.
Friday I tried on Becca’s clothes. Played with parting my hair like hers. I even plucked my eyebrows a little like hers. I surprised myself. She was Becca. I became Re-Becca.
Mama blanched, but didn’t say anything. I could see it on her face. She didn’t want me to go out like that. Mama tried to get me to talk. She’s hurting. I’m all she has now. But she wouldn’t talk about anything real.
We sat there with our thoughts for a time. Out of nowhere she said, “Becca always took after Daddy.” She spoke so low, I don’t think she wanted me to hear. I doubt she knew she spoke aloud.
I asked about Daddy and she shook her head. She’s lost.
That’s her way. We were too young. She didn’t want to scare us. Old news. But now? What is she afraid of? Am I supposed to sit and fill a chair ‘til needed?
Mama’s often right. Too soon?
I mean, I’m alive, right? Am I supposed to hide out? For how long? I want to live.
So I went out, down to the stables. For an experiment, I wore Becca’s riding clothes to see what would happen. I didn’t do anything. Walked around and got a feel for the place.
One guy seemed to know me. Kind of cute. He works there. I sensed he mistook me for Becca. He said something to me and then stopped like he realized something.
“Becca?” He didn’t know. I didn’t lie. I told him. It spooked him. His name is Kyle. Now I’m the pretty one after all.
Saturday I signed up for a class in horseback riding. Why not? Scary at first but I kind of liked it. Who knew horses are so big? Kyle encouraged me. He picked an ‘old nag’ for me. It mainly stood there or tried to go back to the barn. Like trying to get a carousel horse to go anywhere but round and round. Good luck.
But it turns out I’m a better rider than Becca. Not because I’m so good. Kyle said Becca never rode. He said she stood around like people at ski resorts who never ski but hang out by the fireplace, looking good.
She liked the clothes. What a phony.
Sunday Me again. Mama expected me to go to church with her. It gave me time to think. Everyone kept their distance because they didn’t know what to say. I liked that. Nothing like a bunch of fast friends.
Saturday Dear Diary, I’ve been bad. I lost track of time and haven’t written in a few weeks. Busy! Life goes on. Never got the hang of writing everything down. I can’t live like that, tracking everything that happens so I can document it that night. I hate being a slave to an empty page.
Let me catch you up on the latest.
Mama. Of course, Mama. After a while, she settled into her usual depressive state. Not talking much. Watching TV and cooking. I chipped in but we had our life long rhythm we fell into with no effort at all. My attempts at becoming Becca didn’t make much of a dent in that.
By default, I became the pet. The best daughter. The last one. Her savior. Mama’s care giver. She began depending on me more and more for things Becca did. No point denying Mom’s favorite. Over time, she stopped making distinctions and called me Becc.
The new quarter began at LAVC, where Becca went, so I signed up for an acting class, as Becca. Another experiment. The instructor, Mr. O’Conner, said, “Oh, you’re back.” I didn’t know I had been gone. He didn’t know Becca was gone.
While O’Conner had us warm up and do an exercise on stage I noticed a man watching from the back, in the dark so I couldn’t make him out. When I looked again, he had left. It felt like of the dozen of us, he watched me alone. It felt creepy.
O’Conner explained some basics for getting people to believe a character. Turns out people don’t really look at you, as you. Even, or especially if they know you well. They walk around with a little cartoon of you in their heads. If you don’t diverge too radically from their expectations, they accept you. So you adopt an attitude, match some physical features like eyebrows, gestures and clothes, and it all lines up. They don’t see you at all, just the expected cartoon.
So I intuited all that in adopting Becca’s persona. Cool! Me and my double life! I mean, O’Conner himself mistook me for Becca.
After class I went for a coffee. I felt like a fool because I didn’t bring any money.
But this guy, Mitch, came up and paid for it. So embarrassing! He told me to forget it.
Interesting guy, though, if that’s the word. He also bought my Becca act. He mentioned he had seen me in class. Mitch acted surprised to see me (Becca). He seemed charming but had this under-current about him that felt kind of repulsive. Not ugly. But a darkness. And maybe controlling too. I don’t know how to describe it. Churning.
He wasn’t physically aggressive. He didn’t even touch me. I felt like a pressure or a probing from his brain. You know?
But I had fun playing at being Becca, (you know, the pretty one). And trying out my acting chops. I figured I owed him that since he bought me coffee. No big deal.
Especially since Kyle and I have been going out. After a riding lesson, he asked me to dinner. Maybe he got tired of seeing me in jodhpurs. But we’ve had a few dinners now and he’s pretty nice.
So that brings me up to date. Over and out.
Tuesday I dreamed I’m a deer held in a lion’s jaws. Aware of, but without a say in the proceedings.
Wednesday I know, I’m still bad. I can’t seem to get the habit of writing. A week slips by, but here I am.
I have been going to the grief group faithful as an old hound, but man, it never changes. I could skip a month and they’d still be talking about the pain and the loss and… and…
Well, I haven’t spoken at all. But Dr. Schmitz called on me. “Your turn,” he said. Everyone looked at me and I didn’t have anything prepared so I blurted out how I feel guilty. And also how my life is better for all of the above.
I could tell Schmitz was thrilled I spoke of anything besides the same old droning on. Others kind of responded in a shy way to what I said. It put a whole different light on things. Cool. I got it out and they didn’t take me out with the trash.
Oh, I almost forgot about Monday’s acting class. I’m enjoying the class. It doesn’t challenge me too much. We play.
But after class, I ran into Mitch again. What a coincidence. He always seems to be around but you don’t see him coming until it’s too late.
So, anyway. He invites me for another coffee. I told him I’m going out with someone. And he smiled in this elevated way. I half expected him to twirl his mustache. He’s not phased at all and tells me to sit because he needs to tell me something. He always pulls me in. I can’t stand him but he exerts this magnetic draw upon me.
It turns out, he knows I’m not Becca. But he did know her.
It looks to me that whatever he thinks they had together, Mitch has decided to renew that challenge with me.
This doesn’t feel right to me. I wanted to get away. But his presence took over the whole room like dark smoke. I could feel his will overwhelming me. How can one person treat another like a marionette? How can anyone submit to that control?
He has this voracious, all-consuming energy. Like he didn’t want to control, but to devour me. Not cannibalistic because it didn’t feel human.
I shook it off. I pushed him away and said, “I don’t know you.”
Will he stalk me? What does he want? Complete control?
Was I like that with Becca? I adored her. I wanted to be her, not consume her. I don’t know.
Friday Remember Kyle, the horse guy? Yeah, the guy I’ve been dating for the last couple months? He acted like he and Becca were mere acquaintances. He let me believe... No wait, he told me they had only talked at the stables.
But they were going out. Only I didn’t know this until after he asked me out and we had a few dinners. I mean, you know? WTF?
So it all came out when he kissed me. It kind of surprised me when he did it. But, okay, whatever. But then he says I don’t kiss like Becca.
What!? I’m supposed to care about that?
How should I know how she kisses? Do I care? I mean, I like him okay, but I didn’t want to be spending all my time trying to match his vision of her. I wanted to be like Becca. Not his idea of her, but mine. I ended it when he said that. Too much information. S’later!
Sunday I couldn’t write until now. I’ve been asleep since I got home after the thing with Kyle. Did I take a pill?
Blinded by fury, I didn’t even remember what happened. I pieced it together when I awoke from the pain in my arm. And looked in the mirror.
I guess Kyle so infuriated me, when I got home I took a scissors and cut all my hair off. Well, not all of it. Maybe a year’s worth. But it’s short now, by a lot.
One thing for sure, I don’t look like Becca anymore.
I don’t remember how this happened, but somehow, I stabbed myself with the scissors. I looked down at my arm and blood had stained Becca’s dress. I looked a mess. My hair hacked and my arm bleeding. I cleaned myself up and the bathroom. Mama never knew.
My arm just had a scratch. Not serious. I’m okay.
Monday I don’t know.
Wednesday Dark dark dark
Thursday Mitch called. He needs me to help him with something. I shouldn’t be late. More later.