"War is like the wind," she said on a whim. "No one knows where it comes from or where it starts. We just hope it doesn't blow our way. And then one day it's over and gone, and we are left wondering if and when it will return."
"I saw the President today, oh boy. Many people are angry with him. He seemed fine to me. I didn't understand a word but he sounded brilliant. Life's too short to be angry all the time. Just let it go."
"Life is a miracle. Plants magically rise up from the soil. Every minute a new birth. Each day a new chance. We don't have to see the sun to know it's shining somewhere. No need for questioning."
"Someone asked me of my vote. I said who am I to force an opinion on others?"
"How do you know what you know? Does anyone really know anything? Who knows what the truth is. I know I don't know."
"Just let me be. Just let me be. Can you let me be?"
"Here's the manuscript." I plopped it down on the table in front of her. I had worked day and night on it for months, straining myself to the limit, taking the writing as far as I could go. "I need you in order to finish this."
"Me? I can't help with that!"
I looked at her in disbelief. "Never mind!" I picked up the work in disgust, walking away.
"Well, wait! What could I ever do?" She got up to follow me. "What exactly is it you want? Who ever said I could write." I kept walking, not looking back. "You see, I've never really had a nurturing environment, and things didn't work out for me. This is all that I am." She would say anything as long as it was nothing. "I think you really have some misguided opinions of me! You must think I'm something I'm not!" I stopped listening. "Be like that! If you want me to do something, I will. Then you'll see I'm really nothing and can't help in anything real. Maybe I could sharpen your pencils."
Every week I got a new note from her explaining why she wouldn't/couldn't/can't have helped me ("Don't you appreciate my integrity in telling you this??"). Was years before she stopped. Then she lost her mind, dissipating into oblivion.
Without warning she got old at the candidates' debate, a fossil fool. Embedded deeply in the mad throng she suddenly forgot why she was there, stranded among the masses. They knew when to cheer and when to jeer. Mad passion consumed their faces. She was one of them when she arrived. But not now.
"Could it be..." She dare not finish the sentence.
What was she doing alone in the world? She never wanted that. Can't vote oneself a husband and a family. Coming home to an empty house after attending her "Fix the world!" rallies drove her to a bottle of Gin. Her jokes were clever but her choices were not. She came to the debate so completely sure of herself and in the twinkling of an eye when she wasn't looking, her life reversed.
Back at the house building in the silence of her manicured couch, she had no appetite for the plate of leftist vegetables laid out before her. In her years of rot she'd begun to carefully manage her behavior to match the correctness of her political stances. In this way she'd avoid charges of hypocrisy. But her hypocrisy lay in doing what others wanted instead of what she wanted. She'd made a career of not living for herself.
That satirist who'd invaded her political talk show that morning had put a pea under her mattress.
"I call this story "The Weather Vains". There's a deadly toxic cloud east of the City and forecasters are showing weather vanes pointing directly to the town. But rather than evacuate and save themselves, the greedy citizens devise a plan. "We'll change the direction of the weather vanes - which means the wind has changed - and then we're saved!" These people had come to worship technology and were very proud when they devised mechanisms that caused the weather vanes to point in a direction that blows the cloud safely away.
"The leaders were rejoicing in their hero's reception when the news came in showing the vanes' new direction. Truth had lost all meaning to them. Then, of course, they got wiped out anyway. And that's how I view "balanced budget saviors". They are missing the overall. No possible way exists to make greed work. That's why everyone says it's "politically impossible" to balance the numbers. We are an unbalanced people. Fix the people and you'll fix the economics."
She had hoped to fix herself by fixing the world. But she needed to fix herself if to help the world. Damn. What can anything mean without a family? She was lost at sea. So many years wasted. She was motionless; embarrassed; the only sound the ticking of the living room clock.