Tuesday, March 22, 2011

keyhole: dreamwalk

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by Sarah MacManus
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When Alice bends down to peek through the keyhole, she catches the smell of heat and hears the sizzling of insects frying under sunlight. Expecting the worst, she spies a red desert landscape, windblown and raw, rocky and endless. Her eyes try to squeeze themselves shut without permission, but then they catch sight of two women sitting under a dark, scrubby tree, the only shade for miles around.

One is older, baked with heat and years, with flashing white teeth and a glint of playful serenity in her eyes. The other is younger, almost a grown up, with just a hint of childhood around the edges. The older woman is painting the younger one with paint from squat, fat jars that lie open between them. She covers the younger girl’s arms and belly with swirls of blue and zigzags of white and dots of ochre, turning her into a savage, a warrior woman, a shaman, a terrifying, fascinating sight.

Supervising this affair with fierce determination, is Platypus, who dashes circles around them, examining every line of paint, every red circle, looking for something to criticize. She slaps her tail against the ground, rumbling with admonishment for them to take this ritual seriously. This is Women’s Business, not to be taken lightly!

Alice can see the older woman’s mouth twitch in amusement, even from this distance, and then the women’s laughter dances on top of the heat waves. It’s so very hard to take a platypus seriously, even when they’re scolding you, and even when you know they’re probably right.

They look like each other, the two women, and Alice can tell by the way they touch and speak together that they are family. Suddenly, Alice is hit by a pang of longing for her own mother and sisters—an ache so sharp and unasked for, that she can no longer bear to look through the keyhole.


Alice keyhole post: Alice in the Outback created for Alice in WhoLand event by Sarah MacManus author of Dreamwalk
© 2011. All rights reserved.

~-~-~-~-~ guest ~-~-~-~-~
by Sarah MacManus
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Should Alice open this door?

~^o^~ Alice in WhoLand schedule ~^o^~

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