The grand hall was illuminated by the morning sun streaming through the columns. They were as tall as redwoods reaching up and out into an endless sky. You could see the dust floating about in the air like a fine mist. There was her small silhouette within the forest. The round curve of her forehead to her nose and then down and around over her top lip point and her plump bottom lip and chin. As she looked up she imagined there was some color at the top of the columns. She visualized the moist dark brown tree bark fading into a green canopy with a little bit of blue and white peeking through. You could see the reflection of it in her eyes.
Her hair was pulled back into a perfect blonde bun. She had a tiara on that mimicked the pearl and crystal gem stones in her bodice – tulle hovering over her white legs as she tip toed on the marble floor shoes dangling in her hands.
She paused for a moment in the silence and closed her lids softly. Then she sat, criss-crossed her legs and slid her wrapped feet in to touch the hard canvas hidden behind the elegant exterior. The soft satin ribbons securing the torturous devices as she lifted all at once from the ground to her pointed toes arms like wings gracefully opening up over head. She indulged in the symphony in her mind playing ravenous Tchaikovsky and dreamlike, whimsical Satie. She glided and whirled around the columns – writhing in agony as well as she would burst with joy and love. She articulated with intelligent transmissions of empathy, passion and fervor despite her youth.
The music came to an end when she became distracted by a pain in her head. Then she noticed there was no one around. No one was calling her. Where was her mother? She heard a rumbling in the other room. Adults were in some kind of meeting. She looked closer and saw her mother. The room looked like a court room: the columns, the white color, the marble. It was all so majestic.
In the center, the room fell away. She could see the city street, but it was silent. Her mother’s rosy cheeks were more flush than usual. Her charcoal tartan stroller coat and voguemont felted wool hat – her hair in perfect curls – She was so beautiful. Especially when she cried.
The little girl walked closer. She was worried she would now be late for the audition. She would be the youngest ballerina to enter the company. She assumed all of the white bearded gentlemen in robes were the judges of course.
She walked closer. Her white tulle and bodice blood red. Her pale neck lay limp over her mother’s arm. She could smell her mother’s soft perfume. Her breath warm on her face and tears like rain drops smacking the young girl’s skin.
All at once everything sped up. The images she was witnessing were now moving at full pace. The elegant, beautiful woman was seizing and screaming and gripping the little ballerina, staining her tartan coat in red. The truck driver did not see the four feet of her entire glimmering self skipping happily across the dank grey New York City street. It all happened just so fast.
The journey and awakening is always unfolding. It is sometimes lonely, sometimes sad and sometimes fortunate. We are fortunate to be able to daydream, to be able to share moments of joy and pleasure and love. This man tapped into something deeper, something she hid from herself.
This part of her was wild and quite uncivilized with fiery eyes. Fiery from her anger. But what was most complicated was the tenderness and subtlety about her. It was always as if she felt there were eggshells all around her that she had to walk gingerly upon. Only then to occasionally satisfy the need to smash a few as a reminder she was still living.
She was afraid, full of fear actually, although no one seemed to know it. Her heart knew too much so she dreamt. She would dream of him: her gentle man. He would wrap his weight around her in warmth. She imagined herself turning to face him and watch her own hands as they would drift up around the nape of his neck and around his ears and onto his face and then he would kiss her.
Now she could be calm. Now her heart felt no pain. Her civility could return with grace. This warmth could carry her through a few barren winters.
She removed his garments in her mind’s eye and felt hers slip down her curves one by one onto the floor. She felt his hand in hers and they would move as one to a nesting place in the bedroom and the lights dimmed. She slept. The night was filled with green tea latte marshmallow kisses and cinnamon cream love and she saw through him. Whereas once he could smile as he killed, he was now distracted, softened somehow. He became like a surgeon who could now feel in his skin the pain and in his mind the fears of his patients. Something had opened him. He was seeking … something … was it the love? The acceptance? The forgiveness for his sometimes crude ways of going about things? He was just a man, after all. Once just a boy.
He walked over to the mirror and looked at a new self. He was a different self than the one he knew just a month ago. The month was over, as his contract was based on just a month, the dog barked, the alarm rang… she awoke. And he in his bed too found himself sitting upright strangely awakened. She hit snooze then contemplated her dream. She reveled in the thought of his love and her body softened as she remembered his touch.
He, now awake and up and dressing, gazed into the mirror. He was different: refreshed, confident, loved, strong…. He considered he might even be a little happy and at peace.
He knew he would have to return. He knew he would have to keep her somehow. What she was, really, was someone who wanted to be loved wholly and forever. And what he was, really, was a man who wanted to be out in the wilderness with her. He thought at times it would be impossible to make it work. What could they do?
She daydreamed of him. So far away, but always with her.
He plucked his casual fuzzy fall and winter gloves from the cubby in the closet where they kept all their hats and scarves and things for chilly weather.
One foot in front of the other, toes first rolling past the arches and finally to the heel, he placed his bare feet one by one onto the black and white checkered vinyl kitchen floor.
He was naked and beautiful and walking with a mischievous purpose and a straight back. Almost gliding. Perfectly nude, except for the fuzzy gloves.
He proceeded to the refrigerator. It was a model from the 1950’s. A single solid door that read “frigidaire” about a foot above and to the right of the silver plated handle in lettering that was spaced just so.
He opened it and the cool breeze and light whispered around his skin in the dark of the room. His right gloved hand held open the door while his left rose to meet the freezer compartment.
Ice cream was what his heart desired. Heart. Why does that word bother me so?
Just to the left is the drawer. In the drawer are knives. Butcher knives. Bread knives. Pairing knives. Butter knives. Chopping knives. Large knives. Small knives. He fumbled around in there with his gloved hand leaving a bit of lint and fuzz on everything and causing a bit of a rumbling. And then he found it.
With a satisfied feeling, he allowed his left gloved hand and the notorious ice cream scooper emerge from the drawer without removing his gaze from the frozen glory that sat on the counter next to the frigidaire. He pulled it from the drawer and slid the drawer closed seductively with his palm facing up and thumb and three fingers closed as if telling it to take the tip and mind it’s business like a good bell boy.
He looked at the ice cream box and popped the top off the lid and all he could see was her clavicle.
Then he looked again. He saw her rib cage below bare breasts right under her clavicle and this is where she hid her heart.
He looked upward now blinking. It was the nape of her neck where he remembered seeing a pulsating of her skin there once. Her neck led to her jaw and earlobe, but if you follow her jawline the other way you can see her supple chin which is just below her lips.
He plunged the scoop into the ice cream and he saw the rib cage that hid her heart.
Again and again he plunged the ice cream scoop in. Faster and faster into the oozing mess trying to slop it into the bowl on the counter next to the ice cream box. Blood was everywhere. Her chest was barren. Her bones were exposed as he’d force his hand past her sternum until finally he just dropped the scoop and parted her rib cage with both hands, gloves still on.
At the sight of her pounding heart, he leaned back a bit propping her body up with his hips, he removed his gloves one by one with a bit of a smirk and a glimmer in his blue green eyes as they steadily gazed at their prey.
The blood poured out. The limp, pale, powdery face was offset by the fire engine red of her lipstick and blue black depth of her hair. Shoulders, head and hands splayed backward and out as he feasted in her chest cavity with the still velvety smooth viscosity dripping off his elbows.
He looked at his hands and closed his eyes for a moment. What had he done? He placed the entirety of the large slick soiled metacarpi over his face and slid them down over his neck and to his chest whereupon his eyes opened like flood lights turning on in the middle of the night. He was filled and overflowing with power and pleasure.
Suddenly, the brown and brass hanging light in the center of the darkness in the kitchen illuminated the room.
There she was. She just stood there. His eyes opened wide. The ice cream was all over the counter and the floor and dripping off the refrigerator and it looked like he went swimming in it or something. They both looked at the floor for a moment and there were the fuzzy gloves laying there helplessly, one slightly turned inside out.
She turned off the light. No glass of water was worth losing a life for after all by a crazy man swimming in ice cream. With a whirl of her nightgown, she hiked back up the stairs back to bed.
And there he stood alone in the dark by the cool light of the frigidaire.