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The Key -- Writer's Poke #381

Lakshmi doesn’t know much of anything about the outside world, but like the other girls who live at Happiness House, she is fascinated by television. When she first came to the city, she thought that the roofs of houses would have golden roofs, but even though that turned out to be false, television didn’t disappoint her. In fact, television is better than golden roofs. Even the commercials.

What the girls most like to watch is American soap operas. What do they think when the watch Days of Our Lives or One Life to Live? Do they assume that what they are watching is real? Remember: these are the same girls from the country who didn’t even know what to expect from the city. The city didn’t turn out as they expected, but can they still believe in the magic of America?

Americans, they all know, cannot be trusted. Is this lesson reinforced by the soap operas they watch? America is undoubtedly a strange and mysterious place, but perhaps there is no real to assume that all Americans are bad. Perhaps there is every reason to keep believing that the American man who says he wants to help her leave Happiness House is telling her the truth.

Lakshmi is convinced that there are two kinds of stupidity: the stupidity of naïve belief, and the stupidity to keep believing when one has the experience to know better. Nevertheless, Lakshmi makes up her mind to believe in the American, and when he finally returns, trust allows her to escape. Hope might be an illness, but Lakshmi walks out of Happiness House with the American when her friend Anita can only languish in the despair conditioned by mistrust.

After all Lakshmi has been through, where does she get the strength to continue to trust?

“You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough.” – Frank Crane


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