Four corners meet at a point. Her left foot stands in snow; icy pillows crowd her leather shoe. Her orange socks are getting wet being bathed by miniature crystals. Her right foot is buried under dry, hardened leaves. They dust her toes and cling to her knee high stockings. Her right hand plays in moist mud, only just warming under a new sun while her left palm holds warm earth, ripe in summer. “Why am I on all fours?” Because she can, she can touch one year at once. Can one get sick from being so close to extreme weather changes? “I was looking for something. Where did it go? What does it look like?” Ticking. Tic Tic Tic Tic. It’s shiny. Perhaps red, but she will look for black. It turns out to be unpainted metal. That makes it silver. Two round faces span an intricate body of dials. Who decided that time moved this way? She’ll hold on to minutes while seconds cling at her fingers.
Ah yes, sitting in bed, how typical. She unburies her alarm clock from between sheets of snow, shakes it off, but it is still wet. The skirt of her dress dries off the self-contained droplets stealing the spotlight from a featured surface. Maybe if I would stop picking my nails after every sentence I would know where I dropped things. The white face shines bright, reflecting the sun into her blue pale eyes. A taste of taurine fills her mouth. “So that’s what a Monster is.” A taste that’s bitter sweet and potent to the senses: tinted poison.
Missy looks up, like usual, she doesn’t know where she is or where she needs to go, but she does need to go. That is for certain.
This would be easier with a pipe.
On two feet she chooses to wait in the third of the year. It is the clearest, freshest. A light mist awakens her skin. The smell of falling daisies recalls her attention and her eyes pop open, never aware that they were closed until color assaults her. She pulls out two eyelashes because the brain is on pause.
Pulsing bodies. “Is that what I saw?” This may all come together. “If I can figure out what I’m looking for, thee clouds won’t seem so ominous.” But they do regardless. “Yes. They were in the window. I saw them in the window.” Those heavy mauve curtains were meant to conceal but instead they drew attention to the moving bodies.
“I hung yellow curtains that they might drip sunlight into these shadows.” Wow, yeah, definitely feeling that Monster. Maybe it’ll come back someday. She used to say that: in every house we owned, yellow curtains in nearly all the windows – except where there were more appropriate moods to conduct, like red in the bedroom. Missy preferred black lace over dull pink in her space. They matched the sleeping dolls, her dreaming fancies - those dolls with their silky tendrils. How she envied their silky curls, pearly gazes and porcelain hands. “Maybe if I draw a map it will point me in the right direction.”
She turns and follows the path between the climbing houses. Peaking Victorian roofs support ornate wooden trellises. Dark bark and pastel side boards, round windows and deep porches – a street of Dancing Ladies. But the house she is looking for wasn’t that memorable. It was down a different street perhaps, more colonial, more predictable, with rigid standards of building. Attics with hidden treasures, just cobwebs guarding faded memories. It was one of our houses. These are only for my visual pleasure – an imagination I indulge. Always.
Her children. “Oh mother, why did you desert us? I am left wandering through transient solids looking for you, a figure without a face. But I saw you. You were dancing with that man.” A youthful party. “I saw music in the lights. “Momma, please, take away this whining.” I want magic. “Take me in your arms so I won’t lose you again.” The macaroni is boiling over. I thought I smelled neglect.
“What am I talking about? It’s just snow crowding my sense. I believe you. When you say you’ll come back, I believe you.” So why is she still searching? She had turned around when the last Painted Lady waved her laced glove and the gentleman car tipped his grey felt hat. Lamp posts gradually warmed a welcomed night sky. Only in shallow halos, fuzzy at the edges and strung together by flying fires – they carry their light in their bellies.
When I can’t talk to him, I feel like I can’t talk to anybody. I want to lift my shirt and smile at your smile. A smooth, continuous line from the chin to the ankle - I ache for you.
She yawns. When is sleep allowed in these subconscious moments? “It was the Monster.” I knew I shouldn’t have said yes. I just wanted to know what it would do. Flies. She forgot about the flies. They connect the strings between obliterated views. Missy blocks an iron gate. A little boy waits for her to pass. His top hat barely allows his eyes to see her cream-colored dress, the jellyfish tendrils that follow her naked knees. When he wakes, he will talk of shallow teal oceans and pink skins dripping pearls. She continues to walk to a simple soundtrack of flutes, a few strings, and percussion in the clouds. She feels neglected but is unaware. “Wait for me. While I wait for you.” She only knows what comes next by continuing an existence. Does the ground float ahead? She sees motion at the corner. Back at the four seasons – a crossroad for choices.
To describe her color: ivory, a shadow set back behind golden curtains. Her eyes are so large – a third of her face easily. One slides down with the pinky exhausting its touch. She wants to be a ballerina. She sits in the cushioned folding chair and drifts off to visit her fantasies. Hello my familiar friends. The moon contained in her eyes. Present are the galaxies and worlds beyond - a blue so complex, too beautiful a face. Return to the golden curtain. She turns her head back East and it swings around her face to hit her nose, her cheeks; she closes her eyes. Here, to the East, into the winter, away from the spring. She travels backwards, so you would think, but her alarm is still ticking as it was. Always.
Her back to Victoria, ahead lies the Colonel. These houses she recognizes. Their white facades offer but a small square window to lead her correctly. Near the front doors are wider windows without shades. Through these does she see the pulsing lights. Grey roofs gently steep over parallel panels, even with their cement driveways. “His only friends were the rats.” Distracted. They’re all the same. This street is falling asleep.