Drabble 80 – Turpitude


Olympia by Edouard Manet

I like offering help. I don’t like accepting help.

I am fiercely independent, sometimes to my detriment. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a situation that made me feel impossibly dependent on somebody else. Maybe it’s because I was raised by a similarly independent mother. Maybe it’s because I want to be beholden to no one.

Understanding the reason won’t change it. This is who I am; a woman who values independence above convenience, who is happy to extend her hand but shies away from anybody else’s, who would rather work long hours for low pay than hear, “It’s okay, I’ll take care of you.”

This isn’t an indictment or a confession. Anybody who has known me for more than two seconds knows that I always bite off more than I can chew and then chew it anyway until my jaw aches. It may not be the best way to be, but it’s how I am.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.


(n.) From Latin turpis for ‘vileness, ugliness, base’


The beauty of the situation, Ruth thinks, is that, no matter what she does, it’s considered depraved. Were she to beg on the street, people would spit in her direction, call her lazy, call her trash. Instead, they call her harlot or tart or whore, as if lifting up her skirts for independence is worse than kneeling in shit and depending on the kindness of strangers who sneer rather than offer even a moment’s smile.

And she is angry, absolutely, but anger is more fire than fear. Her cat drinks fresh cream. She wears silk stockings and feels no shame.


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