Interlude Monologues 3: Women Like Us
They fall for you, Marilyn.
They fall for your body, your curves, your lips and your pretty face.
They fall for you but not you, Marilyn. They fall for the idea of you and the product they’ve made. And you’ve tried to tell them so many times as a woman, a mother, a friend that you own yourself and belong to no one else but they kept pinching your skin and grabbing your thighs. ‘Cause, that’s all you’ve ever wanted to be, a woman in a world of men. A woman before their eyes.
But they’re not interested in that. They’re not interested in getting to know you.
They fall for the way you move, they really dig in your stride and the sounds you make at night when they take your body in for the pleasure of not being some boys anymore, to feel manly again.
And then I saw you walking home that night, but I was just another woman like you, Marilyn. I was just another woman standing in the shadow.
It was cold and dark when I saw this man coming out of a car, he sprang at you and put a rope around your neck and his arm around your waist. He got me petrified.
You fell down on your knees, submissive. The man left and I just saw you laying there. Your face looked tired, your pretty neck was bruised and your hands were tied. You wouldn’t move, but I heard you making noises before you finally went quiet.
In the morning, you were still there and I saw people walking by and none of them uttered a sound and I thought well maybe I’m the only one who can see you, Marilyn but then came a crowd.
And this crowd of men, surrounding your body kept shouting “What was she expecting after she dressed up like that?” but then came some women too and said you were just walking home. That you were just another woman walking those streets, you weren’t asking for anything. And I should’ve joined them and said the same that I did see you walking home that night. But Marilyn, I was too afraid so I decided to keep it quiet. I decided to not interfere except now you’re dead and I’m still here pleading, where no one can really see me, wishing I was unafraid like you. Wishing I didn’t have to live in the shadow as we always tend to do.
Then, I looked around and I thought I did see you but all I saw was this girl playing with her hula hoop.
You should’ve seen how confident and happy she looked.
The hoop would hula all over her and sway. Starting from the waist, to the neck, up to her face. She kept rolling it up and down her body until the plan shifted and I stopped seeing her. I don’t know if it was a vision. But I saw the girl becoming you, Marilyn or have you been that girl all this time and only now I knew?
Her facial expression changed when the hoop going from her waist up to her neck did a quick loop and got tighter and tighter.
I saw your eyes, her eyes popping and the girl was choking on and on, she kept coughing.
Suddenly, I could see that this girl was growing old before her age. Her confidence has been taken astray and her innocence blown away by the hands of men who strangled and put her inside this cage. I saw it in her eyes, she was locked in and out, there was no escape. So I stretched my arm to try and take the hoop outta her face but it kept dancing round and round her neck, it kept pacing and swallowing the girl in, until she could no longer breathe. I only had time to look at her face and see how dead she looked to me.
The girl was trying to speak and I was trying to listen. I keep thinking, if only I could’ve saved her but instead, I’ve missed her.
I should’ve come to you.
But the truth is Marilyn, this happens to me too.
When you try to be heard they put their fingers in your mouth and want you to be silent.
It’s hard to be yourself when all you want is to be heard but you keep having men whistling your name and saying ‘baby, hi!’. It’s hard because you know you’re worth more than any of those whistles and words that mean nothing, expecting you to feel pleased. ’Cause, you should be pleased, as a woman, I mean. You should be thankful when a man compliments you like that. But you fight back and let it be known you’re not just some pair of pretty legs on high heels walking the streets at night.
And I look up to you, Marilyn because in spite of all that, they listen to you. Women who don’t stand up for themselves don’t get to be heard.
But you do.
Women who, like me, live in the shadow. Women who suffer from the constant pressure of always trying to put our best foot forward, to look our best so we’re recognised, so we don’t always end up doubting ourselves and being patronised.
And I don’t wanna be loved by a man if I can’t stand my ground the way you do.
Some women get killed and raped, most women get depression and anxiety.
But the sad truth is, at the end, we all get silenced.
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