the look in their eyes: ch3

The first time they met, he told her his last name was German for “dark”.

Leon was old, but he had sparkling eyes.  A couple of tattoos marked his forearms, and they were the old messy blue hand-needled kind, from long ago, before tattoos became designer and trendy and expertly-rendered.  Laughter embellished his remarks, all of which seemed oddly and charmingly fresh and original.

In accordance with the name, “dark”, and  contrasing sharply with the twinkle in his eye and the laughter which bubbled forth spontaneously like a running brook, and which, taken together, provided an undeniable appeal for Violet, was a life background and unusual perspectives, which, eventually, Violet came to identify as “criminal”.

Leon personified the “other”, and this was something with which Violet had had no true previous experience.  The Other represented the shadow world.  The Shadow World is analogous to the shadow cast by your body as you walk along, as you walk through your life.  Your body comprises society on the “privileged” side of the divide.  The divide is arbitrary and man-made, but your body is conditioned by upbringing, experience, and tradition, to ignore the shadow until bit by bit, you oppose the shadow and deny the shadow and don’t even know or remember or recognize the shadow at all. The shadow cast by your body is part and parcel of you, from birth to death, at which point you no longer cast a shadow.  The shadow cast by your body represents the other part of society; the part of humanity that is squashed, that is denied, that becomes repressed, that howls late at night at a full moon and goes unheard.  (This, by the way, if you pause long enough, if you consider hard enough, is a strange but seemingly psychologically necessary pretense maintained by ’elitists’ so that life can be experienced as one endless holiday picnic, all the while enabled by the practice of  incarcerating, killing, and suppressing all of humanity, and nature, for that matter, which threatens to cloud this illusion.)

Through her association with Leon, Violet’s awareness of this entire alter-society was ignited.  Violet’s life, up until her association with Leon, with perhaps the exception of her childhood neighbor, Mr. White, had been, by contrast: elitist, oblivious, law-abiding, socially conditioned, and most of all, civilized.  Aside from one or two speeding tickets, and an arrest for underage drinking at a bar, Violet had no life experience of being on the other side of the law.  Neither had she ever really associated with or had friends who’d been law-breakers, police-magnets, or convicts.  She had been stolen from, and she’d shoplifted a few times in her younger days, but she’d always paid her bills, paid back her loans, she’d gone to college, tried to play the work game, the social game, the whatever-was-expected-of-her game.  Not that any of it had ever been truly fulfilling.  Mostly it was acting out what everybody else acted out… go to college, find a job, want, want, want…. finally get married to have children…. discover that a loveless marriage is a one-way ticket to hell… discover that having children doesn’t fill that bottomless Want… until finally one day a person with a twinkle in his eye and a laugh on his lips, who is wild and unfettered and whose last name is German for “dark”, comes along.

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