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That sums up the issue well
Fri Aug 17, 2018 23:54

Dorian weighed up Professor Brooding’s offer carefully. His instinctive reaction was that he was supposed to put on a bright smile and tell her that it was all fine, because that was what he had been doing for years with adults. Matthieu felt like something he was not supposed to talk about. He didn’t at home. He was scared of the repercussions from Matthieu for telling tales. He was also afraid of disappointment on the part of his parents… Matthieu didn’t hurt him just for fun, he hurt him because he thought Dorian wasn’t doing a good enough job, wasn’t being a good enough example of a Montoir. Dorian knew that his parents loved him, his Mama especially, but he had never wanted to draw attention to his failings. It was the same reason he didn’t tell his friends. Matthieu had always made him feel weak and pathetic, and he was afraid of others agreeing. The events of the summer, and the steady reassurance of his friends’ affection, had loosened that hold a great deal. It had made it possible for him to believe that Matthieu was the one with the problem and to tell him so. But his parents also didn’t want to know that their sons were fighting. Even if there was nothing wrong with Dorian as a person, for liking what he liked, he and Matthieu were not supposed to come to blows over it. I hope you’re not fighting boys. It was the constant refrain when any sense of the tension bubbled up to the point of visibility. And he couldn’t even remember a specific example of being told it, but he knew that as a boy, he was not supposed to cry. No one had said it directly, and of course no parent ever would say such a terrible thing - I don’t care that you are being hurt, I don’t care that you are in distress - but over the years, the message had been reinforced in any number of small and subtle ways, that talking about this problem was not welcome. He could talk to his Mama about how he was feeling most of the time, like when he had been nervous about his first day of school, or if he was upset about anything else, or if she sensed he’d had a bad day she would seek to comfort him - but there was the implicit sense that when it came to Matthieu, they just didn’t want to hear it.

But now Professor Brooding was asking him directly, wanting to talk to him about it, and moments ago he had been wanting to do exactly that. Both of those were new experiences. It was a new feeling, to actually want to tell someone about Matthieu. He normally wanted to keep it all hidden.

But you definitely weren’t supposed to talk about issues in the family outside. One did not air one’s dirty laundry in public. That was just a rule. Dorian did not always care about rules. Other people had rules that were stupid and self-contradictory. But that had always been Society. Society had rules he did not like, and he ignored them in favour of doing what he thought was right. Like when he had gone to talk to Professor Wright and told him that he had been wrong to upset Tatya, even though Professor Wright was a teacher… But it had always been society’s rules that he had disagreed with, or felt made him miserable. He had never come into conflict before with the boundaries set by his family. He was not sure what to do about that. He believed in following what he thought was right, but what he thought was right had always been the same as his parents… What was he supposed to think when given a chance to make up his mind for himself? It was not a question that he could answer within the time frame he had available right now.

He was also a little afraid of what would happen if he started to talk. He could try telling Professor Brooding just a little bit of the story, starting with things that felt safe. He had told his friends that Matthieu was a jerk, that they disagreed about everything. That was fine... Brothers did not get on sometimes. It wasn’t abnormal. But she seemed to know everything about him and to understand whole realities from tiny pieces, and that was both wonderful but also a little bit scary, because whilst he was definitely ready to say more than he ever had done before, he was not quite sure he was ready for everything.

“I think my friends might be waiting,” he answered. He did not want to go through the door that had been opened for him. Not yet. Not right now, tempting as it was. But he was also very afraid of closing it because no one had ever told him before that they wanted him to tell them about Matthieu, or made him feel like it would be a safe or a good thing to do. “We talked about a lot of things that… that I haven’t really talked before. And… Maybe I can do some thinking and talk to you again another day?” he asked. "I appreciate that you ask," he added, because that had been kind and had been new and special, and he wanted to make sure she knew he had valued the question, even he didn't really know how to answer it right now.

  • It is a great thing to be more full of love than of yourselfProf. Mary Brooding, Fri Aug 17 21:48
    Mary watched as a variety of emotions played across Mr. Montoir's face. Some part of him was caught up in the words he couldn't get out the way he wanted, but part of it seemed deeper than that. He... more
    • That sums up the issue well — Dorian, Fri Aug 17 23:54
      • So long as it doesn't mutliply the issue, too!Professor Mary Brooding, Sat Aug 18 16:48
        Mary thought that Mr. Montoir must be one of the most thoughtful adolescents she'd ever met, if not the very most thoughtful. He had a careful countenance but not one that lended well to... more
        • I fear love might multiply my issuesDorian, Sat Aug 18 20:43
          Dorian was taken aback by the use of his family name, and was about to tell Professor Brooding to call him Dorian when he remembered that she was a teacher, and he did not have the authority to do... more
          • Do you really think that? Or just fear it?Prof. Mary Brooding, Sun Aug 19 13:26
            Mary looked up, pleased that Mr. Montoir had gone to the shelf of books. He'd gone immediately to the section of Chinese language books (although she was quite sure some of them were mixed up with... more
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