They kept her tucked into a box for many years — actually it was more like a drawer. I walked by this gray steel drawer many times; it was in a school, high up, a good reach above my head. One day I heard wrestling around, the scrapping of metal — that’s when I first discovered her. She had forgotten how to speak. A few days later, I freed her in secret. Though the drawer was small, she unfolded herself into a fully grown woman. She was unsurprisingly daunt and covered in sores. Her fingers long, brittle, and unbending; her eyes hungry, narrow, and still.
I was teaching a class on mythology at the time and soon came across an ancient myth about a boxed girl and her detainers. As I was teaching about the myth a few of the people in attendance began to get up and leave the room. They were obviously uncomfortable with the subject. I knew I was striking a nerve, so I kept going. A homely woman with curly brown hair turned angry, she knew of the girl in the box drawer and knew that she had recently gone missing. Now she was blaming me for releasing her. I took her blame with satisfaction, hastily ended the lesson, and cursed her in front of the others. They all began to accuse her of evil. Not soon after the taunting began, her conscious broke and she began grieving in shame — explaining that she, and others, loved the girl . . . that they wanted her forever, and that now they would all be lost without her and their lives would hold no meaning.
We gave her no sympathy. We watched her cry. We tucked her into that small steel box. We walked away.
Years later our hearts began to heal and grow . . . for we truly love that box girl . . . and will never let her go. ♨
In the display case my name was written with a gold band on it. I saw a long board with a wooden frame. It was at the end of a long hall. “Why is my name written there?” It was my full three names. Potential graduation date perhaps. I asked aloud. In another part of the hall, someone cheerily said that so -and- so down the hall could help. I imagined a young dorky student at a wooden desk who administered a program. Someone brought a large book for me. It was yellow and very long and wide. It cost $45. They handed me $15. This was my book stipend. I also needed a Thesaurus they said. I didn’t have the money for the necessary book and I complained.
The little frog was tiny and black. It was hopping away from me almost immediately. I chased it down the side of a building, and down a stairwell. It was rainy and nighttime. I would see it hop and I would follow. I’d go for it and it would hop again. What I eventually caught was a green salamander with a fat snake-like face outside near a fountain at night. It frightened me. I brought it back to a bookshelf and tried to put it in. It was utterly insecure there. I tossed it in with my cell phone so I had to reach back inside to get that. The little black frog got put in with the baby. It tried to grab it. I thought it would smush the frog. Even when I had the frog for a moment it was hopping. So I was given one kind of small moth, but it escaped, so I was given another. It flew up and I saw its tiny orange and black wings. They were mine, but I didn’t know how to catch them or where to put them.
Earlier I had been redecorating a cake for M. She said I didn’t have to do it. I didn’t mind. I was taking pineapple slices off of one a laying them on another. The cakes were chocolate with tan colored icing. The fruit was decoration. There were three of them. I suppose I was going to give her the one that I was putting all the fruit on. It was generous of me.
I look to the right outside the passenger-side window into a blue crystalline cove of water with clay formations holding sparkling pools. I say nothing, but I too am amazed at what we found right near us. To the left is a huge tuft of brownish grasses and the air is vast in the landscape. I feel a palpable hope. We are cresting a hill in a car. We have escaped into a paradise. J is smiling. The sky is a vivid blue and everywhere I look is a sparkling water, or a formation of clay. We are walking now. There is a large conch-shell shaped formation that juts up on one side It has huge loopy openings. I hear a familiar photographer’s voice saying a technical term from photography. I float up to get a different angle. Looking down the long dusty road we came from in the distance, I think I make out a white bus coming. Then I see colors in the dust which are people everywhere, and up in the high clay cliffs, people running in Jalibiyas and turbans all coming for us. Some are carrying vendor boxes. We head back. We sort of run too…Its exciting. A short wet headed man looks up at us. He has skin the color of a muddy river, and he is wearing a nightdress or a Jalabiya.” Happy New Year!” J says. We are making a run for it. I don’t know why we are scared.
We push through double doors and are in a subway corridor. J slides in to sit at a bench near restaurants. Two large African American men in glossy eighties Baseball jackets are sitting in front of us but I don’t look at them. I am looking at the food. I noticed some enormous grilled scallops. You are upset about something irritating your mom did. I sort of tune you out and listen to the people around us.
Children are complaining about their orders. “Smaller shizzazz stew.” A boy said in a bored voice and sends his bowl of goulash back. A doe-eyed girl has a chunk of lard with black things in it on her right shoulder. As we talk J says he has to go set up for the hootu ritual. Says he will do just about anything for Lars. This doesn’t make much sense, being that my brother Lars doesn’t do rituals that I know of.
I recall that we were home, I wondered if I smelled like sex. I was dressed and ready for work and thinking I might not go. Still, I went to work at school on a Wednesday, even though I didn’t work on Wednesdays. I had gone into an office where my old principal was sitting in a roly-chair. I was stapling my credit card readout like one does in waiting tables at the end of the night. I asked her for the tape and began to put it back in the drawer until I realized it had been to the right of the computer keyboard before. I felt as though she was disappointed and shamed me. “Its wednesday, I didn’t have to come to work.” I said, in my defense. “I was surprised to see you.” she replied. Earlier I had sat in the back of a class, broken up a fight even. In the classroom, I had asked a question about having a cultural day. I was braiding a left chunk of my hair as I spoke, and forgot my question, so I asked about hair braiding. I wanted to know if we could all braid our hair like Dion. I could see the students in front of me. I could feel my blond hair in my fingers. It was an awkward question toward the end of class. I could tell the teacher did not appreciate the distracted opening into chaos. A few rows up, a girl I haven’t seen in more than fifteen years was saying she would like to have her hair braided too.
When I left the classroom, I entered a place of smooth dark glossy over-buffed floors and brick walls. I saw that under a ladder, a box of wine had broken. A few Latina women tittered about the spill. I smiled even though the specific funny word that raised her eyebrows meant nothing to me. There was a cleaning up and everything seemed cleared away and pushed back to reveal space. It all had to do with a man with a forgettable name.
I’m writing my psychological biology exam and know that I’m failing. It’s kind of a multiple choice test and it has several pictures in which the examinees shall mark mistakes with a cross. I somehow know that there are parts of cells and their components on the pictures, but all I see are the vegetables I cooked the day before: green beans, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower…. The task makes no sense to me and I just tick the broccoli on every picture and fail the test. ☆
I’m at a huge cafe with various seating areas. It’s not quite like a cafe I know in reality but nevertheless it looks familiar. There’s rooms in the back, too.
I’m talking to someone in a car with four people in it. Suddenly I realize that the person next to the one I’m talking to is my ex-boyfriend whom I didn’t meet but somehow wanted talk to for a long time.
Suddenly I’m in the car and sitting next to my ex. He looks younger, thinner and smaller than I expected and not as mature and attractive as I expected.
I’m in a big building now and I think it’s a school. There will be people of all ages later though. A killing spree is going on, someone wants to shoot me. Probably my ex or Michel.
He has a small but long black gun. One shot kills. I think someone gets shot and I can see a small bloody hole on the person’s back. Everybody in the labyrinthlike school building, a lot of people are screaming and trying to run away.
The shooting person who is trying to catch me wears a thick dark blue and red checked shirt.
We, me and all the other people, are running through the corridors of the big building and I feel like I could get shot every second and that the gunman knows exactly where I’m going.
At some point I’m in a room or corridor with a lot of high white lockers and think it’s the best idea to just hide inside one of them. As the corridor gets quieter because the majority of people ran away I see that more strangers are hiding in the lockers and that it’s not a good idea because he’ll be able to find me there. So I start running again. I feel bad because the whole situation is my fault. I’m extremely scared.
There’s a group of people, some clearly defined characters I can’t recall now. I’m not sure if they all want to catch me or help. They are discussing and planning something, I observe them.
And start running again. Through corridors and rooms. In one room there’s a milk glass door through which I see a lot of people running on the corridor behind. Someone is in the room with me and I warn that person that there’s a glass door and that we could be seen through it.
Everything gets quiet, everybody ran away. The room I’m now in looks like inside of a factory building. There’s only the group of people who I think wants to help me left. I dare to leave my hideout. I now think that it’s my ex who wanted to catch me. But he disappeared. We don’t know to where and how and why.
I’m looking up to some kind of wooden balcony and see a face.
“There he is” I say and point at him.
Someone asks the shooter “Why didn’t you say (your name is) ‘Michel’?”
“I didn’t think of that” the person answers.
It’s a thin guy wearing a costume that makes him look fatter and like a girl, he has a blond ponytail but a deep voice.
I now realize that the whole group is against me.
Another guy has the lathy black gun and almost shoots me but the gun goes to pieces. (Like in a bad movie, I think.)
I start running again. I’m outside now. There’s a low broad stone tunnel. I can see some rails, hoardings and high grass.
I try to crawl my way to escape.
I’m positive that I’ll be able to escape but I can hardly move forward.
I don’t know how to crawl I think as I wake up because my heart is hammering too hard to stay asleep any longer. ☆