Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Brush

I remember screaming. We were in the kitchen and I was about five or six.

“You witch! You witch!”

If I had known any worse words I would have used them. And this wasn’t even a spanking.

She was brushing my hair. Jerking her brush through the tangles. She was in a hurry and had to get it done as quickly as possible. But she was always in a hurry- no matter what. She was never going to be done with- whatever it happened to be.

My hair hung down my back, not quite to my waist.

I am, now, what in other parts of the earth would be considered an adult. An old maid. During short lived middle ages, I would be on the express train of old age headed for the broken bridge of death.

All of my mother’s children are still children- even the ones long out of high school. Living in their bedrooms in her house. Washing dishes to put themselves ahead in the competition for her favor. Baby sitting for people in the richer side of town as their ‘jobs’.

Their lives are passing.

She’s tired of them. She’s told me she feels guilty. Well of course. She had told them the purpose of their existence was to have children and also that it was sinful to be attracted to anyone or to pursue a relationship. They were supposed to wait for someone to buy them out of the store window.

Her store window was in the middle of a field and never did any advertising.

She never tells them she was wrong. She never even hints that they should pursue lives of their own.

They’re still waiting.

My baby sister is only eight. My grown up sisters are semi-raising mommy’s youngest children for her.

Now I’m not remembering. Now it’s a party. A family who is friends with our family (because Mom/’s family only interacts with other mom/’s families- not other people) is there and- in the middle of the party- my sister is brushing my sister’s hair.

Because we’re in too much of a hurry to stop for parties.

I’ve watched Mom brushing baby sister’s hair. She has trained baby sister to stomp her foot when it hurts- to grit her teeth and growl if it’s too much.

Because mommy can’t slow down long enough to NOT hurt her children. Ever.

She would rather be somewhere else, but she refuses to go. She would rather her children were somewhere else but she will not give them permission to leave. Even when she’s started to hate them.

Now my sister is ripping though baby sister’s hair with a brush.

I swim through the mass of people. A load of fake smiles plastered over skulls. God.

I get to them.

“I can do it.”

Sister’s body shifts to shoulder me out and she says something. She doesn’t want me to. Little sister keeps her face impassive. Her fists clenching and relaxing. At the age of eight, she could be a spy.

She’s asked them to cut her hair.  They wont do it.

A figure lurching behind me. Long hair hanging almost down to her waist. Long skirt. A voice made of artificial sweetener.

“Practicing to be a mommy?”

More of her teeth show. This question is the breakfast cereal of champions- the question asked of five year-old female children who can’t possibly not be five year-olds until they get taller and start earning their salvation through childbearing.

Bile rising. Sour in the back of my throat. I smear a fake smile across my skull, say words, and slide back into the crowd. Out of the room. Out of the house. I stand in the dark and breath.

You smiling fucking bitches. I’m not practicing for anything. I’m trying to keep my sister from being hurt.

Now.

Now.

Now.

Enter Title Here or Escape While You Can Still Get Out

This is the moment. This is my knuckles getting white on the wheel.  This is one of the bad (good?) spells. The reason I never bothered with drugs. Never felt the need of them. This so much more incredibly unimportant than the fluid tide of meaning drowning my brain would make it out to be. This is geese halting traffic as they cross the street, looking this way and that and honking like confused tourists.

They are tourists, of course.  Tourists and time travelers. They winged their way here from a different age of the earth, where light was yellower and more primal and the jewel eyes of inhabitants mirrored the sun without shattering it into names.  Or perhaps they aren’t tourists so much as refugees.  A white smear of nameless spread across the namelessness and then- then they found themselves running through time and space and evolution, desperately fighting for their lives. They donned disguises that the dead would be envious of- feathered and masked. Not saurians anymore but nobles, still.

There was no asphalt in the world they came from, that world that perished.  No rocks that purred and moved and stopped seemingly at will.  The chemical perfumes may be familiar, the trace stenches of a death wider than the sea, but other than that, they aren’t sure where they are now.

Their finery is ridiculous here. Mask doesn’t conceal in the fronds and cool wet voices of the swamps that were their hidden path to the new land. They are in the new land. Their capes of wings are folded around them.

The two on the road- a couple- have the sound of squabble in their voices. They call to the two waddling parallel in the grass and those two call back. The four of them moving together, gawking at the sights and gabbling like any of mildly frustrated party of four.

I don’t know their language. It might as well be geese Hebrew. I am too young and ignorant by far to understand this band of survivors.

I stare in awe, excused and forgiven by the living rocks behind mine. Ensconced in silence, bobbing in mirrors, perhaps they feel this awe too.  Pity masquerading as scorn and scorn dressed in urgency’s clothes are both drowned in the sea of our mutual alienation.

Behind me, alien, do they feel something moving in them? Do they name the sun the way I do? Do they call it love? But all it is is the sun, isn’t it?

Woven, flowing, in a thousand channels of blood and of the mind’s nervous fires.

The time travelers are moving.  The ground has shifted under their feet and worlds have bloomed and died in time lapse films that they paddle through and it’s still shifting.

I don’t know. I don’t know how they do it.  Will I and mine walk with them?  Will we be companions in the up and coming world? Strangers together in the place called strange-to-us?  Or will they leave us behind- squabbling as they waddle into the portal of the future- as we look, wracked with coughing, after them- maybe even possessed of the presence of mind to wave goodbye. Lonely now forever and still silent to each other in the land of the past- that country of stone and darkness that isn’t night.

I and mine.  Riddled with words like worms in the world’s only fermenting apple.  The words build themselves around us, through us, structures flooding out from the entrances to our skins, shaping the world around us at our desire. Wizard power. Made of less than seafoam, less than starlight, less than apple blossoms.

Less than the pipe that the arrow in the picture doesn’t point to.

Is the weightless name of the sun too heavy for swimmer to carry?

These swimmers paddled through namelessness to nameless.  The water rolling in beads off their feathers.  It couldn’t get in.

Must a wet creature such as me see the future from the crest of my own wave- before the burden that made the wave drags me down to drown in a seafloor death.

But the two make their way onto grass. The purr beneath my feet rolls me motionless forward. I move between the double couple. One spreads his cape of feathers in a challenge that greets me. The melodramatic swirl of the air.

They seem to open something for me.  Or- a puppet of the powers that animated me in the first place- perhaps I charm, unseeing, the opening into being.

A circle woven of the curling airs they have supplied me.

Perhaps the sun is, always, and is no more than that.  Or if all this is is the sun, running in a thousand veins, perhaps not.  Perhaps the sun is delighted by her mirror.

Perhaps she will go on polishing. Till, one day, even she can see her image.