Monday, February 20, 2012

the real and the remembered

The sun at the height of summer burned the tips of the grass brown and yellow.  In the summer, everything went from pale green and floral to this monotonous shade of golden burnt umber.  Some days she liked it and some days she wished it would summer rainstorm, because she really did like it when it rained.

She would often spend hours sitting under the cool canopy of the trees, one of her favorite places to be, but today she was sitting on the sidewalk in the middle of the sun, the great country yard splayed out around her.  The house was ahead of her and the dusty gravel road was off a little in the distance, but her vision was drawn rather to the near reflection of all this in the window of the car.

She stared into the glass, willing herself to fall to the other side, imagining that in the shimmering heat of summer this was possible.

Everything was inverted in that delightful "through the looking glass" way.  The house in this place looked bowed out and wobbly, like a bubble version of its real self.  The colors were more saturated too; more tactile.  All that was missing was the white rabbit.  And a hole.

In this place, she could imagine a world without that yellow-haired woman standing with her arms crossed at the far end of the sidewalk -the end nearer to the house -staring down the other end of the sidewalk with that perpetually icy stare of hers and a yell forever on the tip of her lips.

In this place was a woman who loved her, who let her stay over with her friends, who had a real warmth in her hug, and a smile that actually reached up into her eyes.  This woman never made fun of her in front of others or said cruel things in private that made her cry.  That woman really did try too hard to always see her crying.

In this place, only the opposite of anything was possible but, suddenly, the limitation frightened her.  That woman was filled with an insatiable rage, but the opposite (*him*) was no better.  What if both halves represented no choice at all?

That question destroyed her reverie.  The specks of gold shining in the air around her turned back into humble dust motes in the summer sun.  And she was back too, back on the sidewalk staring through windows in one moment, but in the next scrambling up the hill on the far side of the house, running ahead of that woman’s voice, convinced that if she could disappear she would be forgotten long enough to dream about something else.

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