Summary: Don's getting tired of dealing with ghosts.
Spoilers: For Season 4, Episode 7, "The Suitcase".
Disclaimer: I don't own "Mad Men".
A/N#1: Title is from the song of the same name, as heard in Roger and Hammerstein's famous musical "South Pacific".
A/N#2: This is my first "Mad Men" fanfic. Enjoy! Reviews (constructive criticism) are highly appreciated. :)
She looked so healthy in the dream: standing there in summer dress, holding a suitcase (a Samsonite?), ready to take flight-her face rosy with pure happiness and the joy of being free.
Would he ever know this wonder, freedom? All his life he'd been expected to be someone: a worthy son, a dashing husband, doting father, strident worker. Many would say he'd reached success-until his wife found the small pine box, holding his childhood's ashes; until his children looked up at him with saddened, ancient eyes and couldn't answer questions that should never have to be asked (questions that he knew he would never be able to answer). Was he a successful businessman? Some would say, legendary: until the money runs dry, as well as his tongue.
A wholesome image: he lays upon a sweet doe-eyed girl, head in lap, waiting for a lullaby. Who would know she was once his secretary, he still her boss? And what does it matter-lines get crossed here, all the time; identities get taken overnight, stuffed inside a shelf behind the Lucky Strike box when others grow wary. (And, somehow, she never suspects: seems to think she's got him all figured out: but that's just it, nobody does...except for one, and she is gone.)
She is gone: the one he trusted with his life, for she knew him mostly as Dick Whitman. To think he'd ever felt guilty about their confidence, when Betty had slept with another man and ran away with him...
No, he won't think about that now; too many moments to regret, too many things said, and unsaid. He'd rather think about Anna, but Anna is gone, and he is alone: except for his respectfully quiet companion, keeping him company here on the couch.
Where do they go from here? He would like to wonder, but he does not dare-so many things in his life have already gone up in smoke.
As the scenery shifts between moments in time like an old film reel, he studies her bosom and then her carefully-propped brown hair. A stunning brunette she is, and he's always been fond of her-she knows what she wants, and she asks for it-she will not shrink under the spotlight, though she is constantly examined while within this "man-made" artificial world. All the men love Peggy, but she will not "go easily into that dark night" (see, he went to college, too), and though he tries to fight it, he loves her dearly for it. Theirs is not a typical relationship as she sees himself in her doting young eyes: so eager to please, but never resting too long in the arms of the leader. Sometimes he imagines her in bed: the silky white skin, the soulful eyes that sometimes seem to penetrate right through him-all the while seeing him for what (who?) he really is.
Other times (was it ever this way with Betty) he is so proud of how far she's come that he could burst. I think I'm so hard on you because you seem an extension of myself. This is true; truer than he would ever like to believe. He will never go home with her; she is his protégé, once having followed childlike in his footsteps, and now skipping far ahead down the path towards enlightenment-while he remains safe by the pool, quietly sipping Martinis and beer.
Are those tears in his eyes? She was the only person who knew who I really was.
Like a mother now, she holds his hand: That's not true.
She can smell the vomit on his shirt; see the stain as clear as his embarrassment, and even though he's her boss and he knows he shouldn't care, he does. (Sometimes he's confused as to who's the older one here.)
And as much as he hates to admit it-but he knows that she's right: because nothing is ever as black and white as they may seem.
Now, he knows how schizophrenics and people with multiple personalities must feel: because he's not just Don, nor is he really Dick either: he's both, wrapped up into one human being, trying to make it in a world which at times, to him, seems as far gone as his failed marriage.
He remembers those books from grade school in childhood, "See Jane Run."
There should have been a book called, "Dick, Meet Don."