Soul Murder

 

I know – it’s a dramatic title to a blog post. . .

 

I first came across this brief short story by famed writer David Mamet in the LA Weekly – decades ago.

 

Back then I clipped it, saved it and occasionally would read it when sorting through files.

 

Few stories have haunted me like this has – exquisitely poignant.

 

And for any of us working towards “confidence” – well, we all need someone to hand us a quarter!

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Soul Murder

by David Mamet

 

The child sat with his head in his hands, rocking back and forth. “And if you did not want it, you should not have asked for it,” the woman said, “for you do not know what it means to deserve something, for you do not know what it is to work for something.” She paused. “Do you?”

 

The boy did not look up. And it seemed the woman did not require him to. She rubbed one eye for a moment, and while she rubbed it, her mouth went slack. The boy continued rocking.

 

“Now,” she said, “when we get home, do you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to take your toys and box them. And I’m going to ship them away. Do you think I’m fooling?”

 

The two other children — probably his brother and sister, the man thought — looked on, not dispassionately, but at a remove. Well certainly, the man said to himself. If they were to intervene, what would they say?

 

The boy stopped rocking and rose from the bench and began to walk, stiff-legged, looking down.

 

“Where are you going?” the woman asked.

 

He raised his head, cow-eyed, to indicate his destination — the men’s room across the waiting room.

 

“Then why do you walk like that?” the woman said. “I’m talking to you. Why do you walk like that, for God’s sake?”

 

His mouth moved like a fish’s for a moment.

“You sit down,” she said, “and I’ll tell you when I want you to go somewhere.”

 

He waited a moment and then sank down on the bench. His mouth was open, and his hands were pressed over his ears. He put his head down, just above his knees, and began rocking again.

 

The woman addressed herself to the other two. She drew them close around the pile of baggage and spoke softly to them.

 

Yes, that’s right, the man thought. Yes, that’s right.

 

She gestured to the baggage and pointed at them, and they nodded; and she gestured at the washroom and she nodded and then she, and then they, looked over at the other boy. She got up quickly and gathered herself together and walked crisply off.

The other children looked guiltily at the boy and then they determinedly busied themselves with their books.

 

Well, now’s the time, the man thought, and he had this fantasy: He would walk over to the boy and sit beside him. “Do you know who I am?” he would say. The boy would look up. “I am your guardian angel. I have been sent to tell you this: You are not bad, but good. Do you understand? You are not bad, but good. I only have a moment, but you are to keep this.”

 

He inventoried his pockets for something to give the boy.

 

“You are to keep this — it’s a magic quarter. Every time you see it, every time you touch it, you will magically remember that you are not bad, but good. You are good. Do you understand?

 

“Now, listen to me — one day you will lose the quarter. This is part of the plan. When this occurs, it means that each time you see any coin then you will remember that you are good.”

 

In the fantasy the man pressed the coin into the boy’s hand and quickly stood and walked away.

 

As he finished the fantasy, he saw the woman walk out of the washroom and return to the two good children and saw the three of them smile and rise and organize themselves around their bags. Just before they left, she looked at the boy on the bench and glared at him as if to say, “Well?” And the boy rose and followed them.

 

— David Mamet

 

Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from being influential and heard?

To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

contact me at:

[email protected]

818-415-8115

A Brave Act of One’s Own

 

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Last weekend I met Marie at a housewarming party. She is the motherly neighbor of my friends who hosted the party. When she learned that I officiate weddings and coach communications, she maneuvered me to a table and proceeded to tell me about her daughter, Clarice, who had filed for divorce just six months after her wedding. Marie asked if I would meet with her.

 

I doubted Clarice wanted some stranger to “reason” with her; but I felt sorry for Marie and agreed. Out of respect for her mother, Clarice, who had moved back in with her mom, also agreed.

 

When I stopped by the next day, I reassured Clarice that I had no intention of trying to talk her out of her decision. I admitted it was none of my business, but just out of curiosity, I wondered what had happened in the span of six months to want her to dissolve her marriage.

 

Embarrassed, Clarice told me that she and her husband Frank had dated since high school. They continued on through college. Everyone just presumed that some day they would marry and once out of college, the pressure was on.

 

She then told me something that initially shocked me: “We didn’t want to disappoint our families and so we decided to get married and we just got caught-up in it all.”

 

Then one day, some six months later, they realized that while they loved each other, they had no desire to spend the rest of their lives with each other.

 

Once again, I was reminded that life can get very whack-a-doo!

 

The self-help guru from the 1980’s, Leo Buscaglia, maintained that,

Not very many of us are really, in the real sense of the word, alive and living fully. I’m certain that as long as you leave your life in the hands of other people, you’ll never live. You have to take the responsibility for choosing and defining your own life.

 

As odd as Clarice’s story first sounded, I later realized that she really wasn’t any more “stupid” than most of us are at one time or another in our lives – and I say that respectfully.

 

I think most of us can be sloppy when caring for our lives, going along with decisions made by others because we don’t want to hurt feelings or accept the consequences of hard decisions.

 

Ironically, Clarice and Frank deciding to divorce was the kindest and bravest thing they could do for each other because finally, they were choosing and defining their own lives.

 

What about you? 

What kind, brave thing do you need to do for yourself?

 

Do you want to learn how to confidently live your life without worrying about what “THEY” will think?

 

To explore how life-skills coaching can help you present you

with enhanced confidence – and joy

please contact me

  [email protected]

818-415-8115