Who Does This?
Saturday, November 27, 2004
High Heel/Foot: Stand Tall
He came up behind her quietly at the embassy party. "All right, dear, I think that's enough, don't you?" He winkled the glass from her hand and steered her toward a conversation that could be profitable to both their careers. Her hips swayed as he guided her, with one hand on the small of her back. Everyone looked at her as she laughed. He stood back and admired her as she listed out farm policies on her fingertips, and everyone leaned in closer to hear her even though they should have found it very boring.
Five years later he consoled her before they entered the room. "Even if you don't win, sweetheart, they need to see you being very strong for them. I know you can do that. I'll be at the back of the room, dear, and if you need applause you just look at me, all right?"
Five years after their victory party he was at a Christmas party in the Rayburn House Office Building. He was able to eat much more than she could, because no one was watching him. When she needed it, he shuffled up beside her and whispered a few unnoticed hints and encouragements in her ear; then he rearranged her stiff styled hair and pushed her toward the crowd.
The strain showed on her face when they got home. But he was determined: She had talent, and she wouldn't waste it. She would be president someday--if he had to push her every inch of the way.
The Life/The Work: Science Fiction Heroine
"What have you got that I don't?"
"Well... I'm not always clinging at him, needing him. I'm a luxury, not a duty. I'm only there when he turns his attention toward me. Try disappearing when he's not interested. Absence makes the heart etc."
"Everyone thinks he's so compassionate."
"That's imagination for you. It's a gift, you should be grateful, that he can see the things that aren't with so much more clarity than the things you're always shoving in his face."
"Empathy for made-up people--and for aliens! If he wants metaphors for alienation can't he look at his own fucking children? Or here, why can't he look here-- ...How can he love aliens he made up in his own goddamned head more than he loves me? "
"How does anyone love anything?"
"And now you sound like him, too. I don't know why I came here."
"Oh, shh. Shh. Here. Let me tell you a story..."
Bitterness/Repression: Give In
Sardonic kisses move over your wrist; lips nudge your sleeve up, revealing the thin edge of a long deep cut. The tongue hesitates at the sensitive skin just before the scab. The face rises, glares. You haven't been entirely truthful.
"He hurt you." Flat words, as angry with you as with him.
"Oh, no. That's--it isn't important." You reach for the aristocratic, diffident tone, that old seductive sans-souci. "Go on, then."
"I don't think so." Dark accusing eyes and a hand tense around your wrist.
"Oh, honestly. It's fine. Do you always have to be on about him? Can't we just be civilized for once?"
"He got to you."
"Some things can't be civilized."
And you have nothing to say. You think perhaps you should forgive him; but that would mean admitting he got to you. And so you learn the shuddering thrill when civilization lies powerless before revenge.
You lean back. Rough kisses fall against your throat.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Imposed/Discovered (How They Made the Manticore)
The wind whipped her hair back, almost into his eyes, as they walked along the lower cliffside. He watched the blood sting in her cheeks and wondered why she'd handed him her coat.
She looked up, to the higher cliff. "Oh--oh look! Look!"
Manticores played by the edge of the cliff: little monsters. He laughed. "They'd best be careful they don't fall over."
"Oh, they're adorable."
Before, she had been surprised that he looked so young; now he had the same surprise, hearing the yearlessness in her voice. He leaned toward her, almost too close for propriety, and crooned, "Isn't it romanticore...?"
She giggled. "Funny..."
She was so easily pleased. "It isn't really."
"No, I mean--it's like the manticores, isn't it? Pushing the parts of the words together, the way they pushed together the parts of the animals."
"Well. Except that it didn't take."
"How do you mean?"
"Those little tusslers--how much are they like the manticores in books? Body of a lion, but cowardly as an elderly pussycat. Tail of a scorpion, about as frightening as a lapdog. Head of a man, and stupid as a... well--" grinning at her-- "as a man, I guess." She laughed a little, but she looked at him uncertainly and waited for him to finish. "They got the pieces of the manticore, but lost the point of the manticore. ...And that's the point of the manticore."
He could never predict what would silence her. She turned to him; and, after a shaken moment, said, "Could I have my coat, please? Let's walk down."
Liberty/License (In the Desert, You Can't Remember Your Name)
"California," she said; and I grinned. I pictured our perfect American road trip. On the long blank country stretches, I figured, I could teach her to use the stick shift.
In that first motel she came out of the shower with her hair dark against bare shoulders. I headed in to the bathroom while she bent over to hunt for her nightgown. Water darkened the blonde streaks in her hair: I had never liked blondes.
(Why would that matter?)
We were alone all day on the road. We never fought. She leaned against my shoulder when the taillights came on and the sightless stars began to show above the flat, cracking earth.
She turned too fast in the motel lobby and her hip struck mine. I turned out the light but I did not sleep until dawn.
In Texas she puts her hand over mine on the stick shift.
I was only three when she was born. It's not my fault if I can't remember a time when she wasn't. Sisters share everything.
I wonder how long we can drive in the desert.
11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007
03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009
10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009
11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009
05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010
06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010
07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010
09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010
07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011
08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011
03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012