in which a narcissistic teenaged girl named Jenny intuitively, emotionally manipulates Doris Lessing, a difficult woman with intimacy problems and an overly analytical nature. ultimately, they disappoint each other.

The thing is you hadn’t met me when you wrote to me. It was incredibly kind of you … I’m really grateful … But now I’m here and you’ve known me … I mean – what if you don’t like me? Now I’m here? What can you do, if … what if you don’t want me now I’m here? Where could I go? You know my parents don’t … I can’t go to either of them … And I came from the hospital. I’m worried that you’re lumbered with me. If you don’t really like me, there’s nowhere you could send me back to, is there?

I got it out in the end, after the rush and babble. The question finally spoke itself into the silence waiting for it.

And the silence remained. It continued for several moments. Long enough to start to frighten me. Then, still without saying a word, her face set and immobile as it had been while I spoke, Doris stood up from the cushion on the floor and walked out of the room. I heard her going downstairs and then after another moment the front door banged shut as she left the house.


what’s the lesson? most of us need to parent ourselves over something or other. and forgive. we are all imperfect.

here’s the essay: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n01/jenny-diski/doris-and-me