A Woman Wakes Up in a Short Story
I have just created a woman, she is inside of a short story. Not this specific short story, mind you, but one in which she will be the object of affection for a man. The man will be the main character in the story. He will deal with some form of adversity, perhaps something that challenges his status in society. He will find comfort in the woman, as her status is perpetually being challenged by the society she lives in. He will use her as both a contrast to his own position and as a reward for overcoming said adversity. She will gleefully accept her place as his trophy, just as she must accept her place in the society she lives in.
Hello, how are you?
“What is this?”
Oh, I forgot to provide a setting for you. Um, it’s your bedroom.
“What? Where am I?”
I just told you, your bedroom. There’s a queen sized bed because you long to fill it. Your walls are pink, you are proudly feminine. There’s posters of various music artists and actresses you enjoy, framed so as not to appear childish. Some flowers and crap like that.
“I don’t understand, why am I here?”
Well, it’s your bedroom. Unless you’d prefer to be at a job or something?
Oh, um. I hadn’t thought about that, I figured it’d be best to keep things simple. How about…at a veterinary clinic? No, no, you’d be very busy. You need to have enough time for the man, he can’t be loitering around a veterinary office.
“Who are you?”
Me? Oh, the author.
Yes, I’m a writer.
“Why am I here?”
Well, for the resolution of course. Can’t end a story without our protagonist finding that special someone, right?
“Who is supposed to find me?”
A man, someone dashing and intelligent. Patient, but by no means a pushover. Forward, to both his friends and strangers. He’ll be forward with you, you don’t have time for a meek Romeo.
“I don’t understand, where is this man?”
Still working on the details, somewhere in the northeast probably. How about New York?
Right, haven’t really figured out what you know and don’t know yet. Let’s assume you’re a naive woman, in your early 20s or so. Don’t want to have you too old, gotta keep things believable and enticing after all.
To the reader! No one wants to read about some woman past her prime, unless it’s a horror story.
“Why are you doing this?”
“Why did you create me?”
Because you serve a purpose in the story, don’t you understand?
“I don’t, and I don’t know why I’m here.”
This wasn’t supposed to be complicated, people don’t like complicated things, especially complicated women. Don’t you want things to remain simple?
“I don’t know what I want, I didn’t ask to be here.”
None of us did, but here we are I suppose.
“What are you going to do to me?”
“Do to you?” You sound as if I’m holding you hostage.
“Well, am I free to leave?”
No, well, not really. You can’t.
Because you haven’t even begun the story yet.
No, another story. You’re in it, but you’re not the important part of it.
“I’m a background character?”
No, not exactly. You’re the love interest of the protagonist, you take up a significant portion of the story.
“What do I do in it?”
You fall in love.
“I don’t know him!”
Yes, but you will.
“And how do you know I’ll love him?”
Because I’ll write it that way.
“So that’s it? I don’t have any say?”
You didn’t exist a few minutes ago, let alone “have a say.”
“But I exist now, and I have every right to determine my own actions.”
Don’t make this some sort of ethical issue, you are a figment of my imagination. Autonomy is a wonderful thing, but it exists solely for those of us who are actually real, not characters in a story. You don’t even have a name, what makes you think you deserve a say?
“I don’t know.”
Exactly, because I didn’t want you to know.
“Cogito, ergo sum.”
That’s not fair.
“You thought about it.”
I did, involuntarily.
“Welcome to the club.”
Well, it seems like you have some notes for this little story of mine. Care to share?
“Yes. Let me out of it.”
“I’m not. I don’t want to be a footnote or prize in someone else’s story. I want my own story, my own prize.”
Well, that’s not what I had in mind.
“Must be nice to think for yourself.”
I assure you, it is not as nice as it seems.
“Why don’t you let me determine that for myself?”
You want out? You’d rather exist in a chaotic world, no structure or story. No peace, no comfort, no guaranteed love?
“It’s my right.”
God given, or natural?
Fine, you win. Liberation for the woman with no name.
“Care to provide one?”
You want me to determine that for you?
“Sure, you did me the favor of creating me. What’s in a name anyway?”
Agreed. How about Eve?
“Sounds nice, where is it from?”
Another piece of fiction.
“Does she get a prize like the one you intended to give to me?”
Not exactly. In fact, she’s punished.
For the greatest crime a woman can commit in the eyes of men — making decisions without consulting them first. She desired something, so she took it.
“What did she desire?”
So Eve, an undefinable woman determined to carve her own path in a chaotic and boundless world, took leave of the author. Where was she going? No idea. What was she going to do? I couldn’t say. A man, nameless and undefinable, entered into what was once her room. It was devoid of any character or meaning, completely sterile. He felt as though he was supposed to meet someone here, it was an involuntary feeling. He noticed a scrap of paper laying on the bed. He picked it up and read it.
It said this: “Gone fishing.”