Free «An Escape into a Fantasy World» Essay
My dear Connie, my best friend. She was too ordinary, even impish, and I was really shocked having heard what had happened to her. She wasn’t special, and she did not differ from other teenagers, neither by her character nor by her habits. Having a splendid appearance, she was inclined to flirting. Constantly looking into the mirror, she was too concerned with how she looked. Maybe it was a reason why she considered herself to be better than her elder sister June and her mother; maybe she felt some preference. She was really different from June, who was too quiet and hard-working, and, besides, always praised by their mother. Connie spent most of her time in her dreams. Her constant suffering from her mother’s rebukes always made me pity. Her mother induced her to be shrewd and responsible like her older sister:
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Why don't you keep your room clean like your sister? How've you got your hair fixed—what the hell stinks? Hair spray? You don't see your sister using that junk"(Oates).
However, it was just impossible for Connie. She was too light-hearted for it. She was always deep in thoughts, and it seemed to me that she lived in her own world.
The most important thing is that she wasn’t happy at home. She had never told me about it, but being her best friend, I felt it. Her quarrelsome mother and father completely uninterested in their daughters’ life even did not even make an attempt to talk to her which made her life full of bitterness. Sometimes, she told me that she wished her mother had been dead together with her. I just could imagine how frustrated she was, my poor dear. And I understood her situation perfectly. Knowing her mother, I should admit that not just her character, but even her voice contained something coercive that made even candid words sound in a special manner. Maybe because of the lack of attention, love, and support from her parents, Connie tried to find it somewhere else. She found her happiness in escaping with me to the restaurant and in dreaming about boys. She wanted to rush from the reality, from those grey days at home. So, maybe as a result of her desire, she had a bad luck to meet a strange guy who reminded me a devil.
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I liked those times when June was coming soon, and Connie was allowed to go somewhere to have a rest. So, my father drove us to town where we could go shopping, watch some movie or just walk. My father was so different from Connie’s parents and never troubled us with some questions. Maybe just at such moments, being with us, Connie really felt free and happy.
It was a usual evening when my father drove us for a walk. Nothing seemed special about that day:
We walked around the shopping plaza wearing shorts and flat ballerina slippers, with charm bracelets jingling on our thin wrists. We would lean together to whisper and laugh secretly if someone passed who amused or interested us (Oats).
So, we decided to go to one restaurant. We were sitting at the counter, enjoying a pleasant quiet music, and taking pleasure in our conversation. Connie was a very attractive girl, and she always grabbed everybody’s attention. So, in some minutes, a boy whose name was Eddie interfered in our talk. As far as I understood, Connie liked him and asked me to leave them alone. I wasn’t eager to stay alone waiting for her, but I just couldn’t prevent her from having a good time that evening. So, they went outside, and I just was watching them going away. Suddenly, she noticed one boy looking at her. “It was a boy with shaggy black hair, in a convertible jalopy painted gold” (Oates). Neither I not she knew him. They were looking at each other for a while and then Connie went away. I don’t remember what exactly he told her, because I was a little bit far from him, but it seemed like he was going to get her. I wondered what it meant. I can say he made a bad impression on me. I wish she had never met that boy! In three hours, Connie came back, and my father took us home sleepy and contented.
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In summer, Connie was almost always at home, trying to avoid her mother’s eternal faultfinding; she was dreaming about boys like usual. We went out again several times.
One Sunday, Connie’s parents and sister left her at home alone and went to a family barbeque. I was going to meet her, but suddenly, I became the witness of a strange situation near her house. A familiar convertible appeared near her house. I was confused and worried about Connie, because I understood who came to her. It was that suspicious boy whom we met long ago at the parking lot. “He had shaggy, shabby black hair that looked crazy as a wig and he was grinning at her” (Oates 31-32). I was almost sure that Connie also grew afraid, because I remember her feelings that night when we met him the first time. I thought it would be better not to interfere and decided just to wait. So I heard well what they were talking about. As it turned out, his name was Arnold Friend. It wasn’t hard to guess, because this name was written on his car. He invited Connie to go for a ride, but she refused saying she was busy at home. Something mysterious was in this boy. He looked 30, but behaved was like a teenager. It was unclear where he had come from, and what kind of person he was. Maybe not a person but someone half-real, coming from nowhere and belonging nowhere and bearing resemblance to something unnatural.
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Arnold Friend began to call the names of all Connie’s friends; besides, he mentioned my name: “I know who you were with last night, and your best girl friend’s name is Betty. Right?”(Oates 35). He also told her where her parents came. He was relating a lot of things about her, and as I noticed, it scared Connie. Again and again, he continued insisting on taking her for a ride, but she asked him to leave. She was standing at the front door, full of fear because he began to describe what her parents were doing at the barbeque. Having heard all of it, I had an opinion that either he accurately learned all about Connie’s life or he wasn’t a human being. He told her such things which even I didn’t know and in which even Connie wasn’t sure, taking into account her reaction. He tried to assure her that he was her lover and that she was going to love him. It sounded like non-sense, and I wondered what exactly that boy wanted from Connie. I also felt ambiguous, trying to guess whom that boy was. Suddenly, a queer idea came to my mind. I thought that maybe boy who unexpectedly appeared in Connie’s life was something like an escape into her fantasy, from this strict reality, from her old life to her own world where she could be free and happy. "We'll go out to a nice field, out in the country here where it smells so nice and it's sunny" (Oates) - these Arnold’s words were coming out as if from her own head. I remember that she was always discontented with her life, constantly deep in her dreams. And this music in her head… The same was playing in that odd boy’s car.
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Arnold seemed to be an incarnation of devil, who came to give Connie much love and support, but in exchange for her soul. I remember Connie always experienced a lack of love, support, and understanding from her parents, so maybe her desire to have it all created this boy. However, even a word “love” pronounced by him had a meaning of something despotic and indecent.
So, Arnold Friend continued to ask Connie to have a ride with him threatening that she would cause some harm to her parents if she refuses. I just could imagine how she felt after hearing such words. Though she was always offended by her parents, she never wanted them to be in trouble.
Connie, who previously was standing at the front door, rushed to the telephone. Full of fear, she was even unable to dial the number. She was just sitting on the floor while Arnold Friend was talking, talking, and talking with repulsive voice. Connie was thinking about her parents at that moment, I had no doubt, because all are disposed to think about the dearest people being in trouble. She didn’t want them to suffer from something, and she knew she had to make a decision. She knew that there was no way out. She would sleep in her bed and talk to her mother. All in all, she loved her parents. Being so close to her all my life, I knew, though it was a pity for her to leave her parents, she wanted to tempt fate. She was going to escape from her old life, and maybe it was not an easy decision. However, nothing depended upon her at that moment. All was already decided by Arnold. So, she had no nother choice as to obey:
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She put out her hand against the screen. She watched herself push the door slowly open as if she were back safe somewhere in the other doorway, watching this body and this head of long hair moving out into the sunlight where Arnold Friend waited.(Oates).
Maybe it was a step into her fantasy world.
A strange idea came to my mind and terrified me. Oh my God, perhaps Arnold Friend was a murder! But he did not look like a murder; besides, I wondered what a purpose of his killing Connie was. I don’t know if it was right or no, but I went to call a police. Unfortunately, I was late. Connie was already on the way to Arnold’s car. Then I tried to call her. It was not a long distance between us, but it was such an impression that Connie fell into trance. I cried, but she behaved as if she did not hear me. She got into the car, and I saw just a trace of Arnold’s car wheels remaining on the ground. “I hope all will be fine with you, my dear Connie” – it was the only one thing I could think about at that very moment. Oh, how I wish I could have changed something that day, but could I? I hope Connie found what she so wanted to find.