Just Merveilleux

Life at № 42

How much do you know about the people around you?

bulgari

Having crossed paths with so many interesting people throughout my life, I always wonder. More so, I wonder how it all happened, how they, and we, become the people we become. I think that’s the reason I started writing (in a private sense, I don’t mean blogging), to try to understand the process.

When I do outlines of people’s lives they seem terribly unlikely. A woman is born to a working class family in Britain, her family emigrates to Canada, she becomes a flight attendant, marries a middle-eastern magnate, moves to the Cote d’Azur, and now her all-consuming obsession is cooking. She also loves dogs with short legs.

Another is born in Eastern Europe to a posh family who lost everything during the war, she was a tomboy to her parent’s great discontent. She became a professional athlete and has lived an entire life of closeted lesbianism, she continues to do so even though her parents are gone and she’s in her 70’s. She lives in a major European capital with her ‘roommate.’

And those are just outlines. When we scratch the surface, there’s so much more.

Some, I wonder about more than others. One of those people is… let’s call her Mrs. M. She was always so incredibly proper, but proper with mischief in her eyes. We found ourselves sitting together many times, but never too long. Her husband seemed controlling. Sometimes he said things to her, things I found upsetting. “Are you sure you’re going to have another glass of wine.” How very patronizing.

She was one of those people who, when she left the room, people leaned in to the person next to them to whisper something. In the sorts of circles I frequented that was by no means unusual. The rumours about Mrs. M. were of the bombastic nature, they didn’t fit with her demeanour, but there was something about her that made one think they could very well be true. Apparently when she was young, a prince had fallen in love with her. In a Belgian nightclub of all places. The problem was, he was already engaged to be married to an appropriate bride.

People said that’s where her extraordinary jewellery had come from. Her husband was wealthy, but million euro home sort of wealthy, not €250,000 Bulgari diamond bracelet sort of wealthy.

Those weren’t the only rumours. There was also something about an affair with a politician when she was a young unmarried woman. He was (allegedly) neither young nor unmarried. Maybe that’s why the other women kept an eye on her. Maybe that’s why her husband always wanted to be the first to leave after dinner. Maybe that’s why he fidgeted as she reached for her wine glass with her perpetually blasé manner. Afraid the extra glass might be the one that does it, that makes everything come up to the surface.

I wonder if she’s happy. Is this is what life was supposed to be like? Does she stay up late at night pondering the what-ifs? I’m not sure she’s the pondering kind. There seems to a be a degree of resignation about her; but not of the defeatist variety, if that makes sense. She simply seems to understand that life could not have been any other way.

I wonder about him too, so quiet, so reserved. Painfully shy. It can’t be easy to have that type of personality and be married to someone like Mrs. M. If you’re uncomfortable with attention, an exuberant spouse isn’t ideal. I wonder if he’s hurt by the rumours, if he knows which are true and which are just idle gossip. The few times I’ve seen people make insinuations, she neither confirmed nor denied anything. I wouldn’t have expected anything else. I think that to a degree she enjoys the mystique. It’s part of what makes her attractive and interesting.

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22 comments on “How much do you know about the people around you?

  1. makagutu
    June 21, 2015

    The people around me don’t seem to be as interesting as the ones in your list. They are very simple and common place people

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      June 21, 2015

      Are you sure? That’s my real question. What’s it like to be someone else? How do they feel late at night? How did they become who they are?
      Asking those questions is an exercise in humanity. For example, how did the religious fanatic become a religious fanatic?
      How was the life of the boy who killed the nine black people in America?

      Liked by 1 person

      • makagutu
        June 21, 2015

        Put this way, it becomes a very complex question even if my close friends or neighbours have been commonplace people.

        Like

  2. john zande
    June 21, 2015

    People can be fascinating. One has to be a good listener, though, to ever touch these stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      June 21, 2015

      I’ve been starting to use that as a method of categorization. People who are interested, versus people who aren’t (for whatever reason.)
      The differences between personality types and mindset are enormous.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. myatheistlife
    June 21, 2015

    Problems, when seen from many perspectives can be solved often enough by stepping outside the normal paradigm. The way you described Mrs M is the way that many submissives might be described, albeit without the money and rumors in high places.

    I still own a jar of small rocks and bits of glass put together on a beach on the south side of Crete one afternoon as a friend and I picked them up one at a time and told the story of each bit. The stories of our lives are much the same. Crazy but not unimaginable to the creative among us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      June 21, 2015

      I agree. Hope, heartbreak, acceptance- those are all universal feelings. Every street has a version of Mrs. M. Someone who was perceived to be destined for great things, who then does the best they can as life goes in an entirely different direction.

      Liked by 1 person

      • myatheistlife
        June 21, 2015

        Indeed. We all do what needs done when the time comes to do it … or not. The inbetween makes all our lives a bit more interesting than any plan for them might have been.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hariod Brawn
    June 21, 2015

    Most of us do not even know ourselves, let alone those who are around us. This is not to be dismissive, patronising or condescending, for to know oneself is not only rare, but exceedingly difficult to bring about to even a near complete extent. Of course, the narrative arcs of any given life, including our own, remain fairly simple to trace. It is a question of levels of knowing I feel, and in any case, it may be turtles all the way down. o_O

    Liked by 1 person

  5. davidprosser
    June 21, 2015

    I suppose we all have a little interest in our lives because of the roads we’ve taken and why but it seems when taken in perspective those who perhaps had money offering more opportunities are definitely more interesting from the point of view of ‘a past’.
    I remember enjoying some of the outlines you gave from the previous house, a tasty morsel here, a tantalising touch there. You’re a storyteller at heart.
    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Helen Devries
    June 21, 2015

    I’ve been reading a blog post about an encounter with a man seen as a failure – one who uses hard luck stories to present himself as a victim, in the eyes of the blogger, who feels that he should make or should have made, more effort.

    What an interesting man he sounds…so many talents unrecognised…and what it tells us about our society where surface counts for so much and talent for so little.

    Like

  7. Charmaine Martin
    June 22, 2015

    You’ve an artist’s eye, Mr. M, and a novelist’s heart. Do you write fiction?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. theoccasionalman
    June 22, 2015

    I sometimes wonder if this applies to one’s own self as well. I usually think that I’m pretty boring, not really that different from anyone around me. But when I think about the places I’ve seen and the things I’ve done, suddenly I sound much more interesting. My life is amazing, even if I’m not.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Clare Flourish
    June 22, 2015

    I would not like someone monitoring my wine intake, until I did. Relationships are strange, as well as people. They work until they don’t.

    Like

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      June 22, 2015

      That’s one of my rules- no monitoring. Unless someone is interested in starting the third world war, no monitoring.
      I know my vices, they are ‘my’ vices, after all.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. appletonavenue
    June 22, 2015

    I think I would very much enjoy such spicy rumors to abound when I’m old and wrinkled. Rumors are usually more interesting than the truth. I like the way she keeps it a mystery.

    I don’t think I know anyone quite so interesting as the people you meet. My neighbors are accountants and lawyers and grocery store clerks. There is one, I refer to him as the “Professor”. He’s an inventor and sailor, and he’s had some interesting encounters; from whales to mutinee.

    Like

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This entry was posted on June 21, 2015 by in life, writing and tagged , , .
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