“Did you notice that the illustration of the girl on the cover looks Asian? The moment I noticed that, I had to sit down. You see, in my imagination, the main character looks Asian. That’s not clear in the book, and I’ve written before about why it’s OK if you (the reader) didn’t get that from the text. To me, though, Ash looks Asian, and I’ve never seen that represented in an illustration before this Korean cover. It was astonishing. I felt like crying.”
Ok, so maybe cooking wasn’t the best idea…but cooking has always been fairly therapeutic for me. Granted at home its usually cookies that I am making, but there is something about working out an entire recipe that feels peaceful.
Maybe I’m just thinking about food all the time because here I feel like I’m being eaten.
The silence swallows me, the darkness drinks my personality….
I must do something, because I feel utterly lost….
I turn the page and look at the recipe for bread
Its just a cookbook, I take a deep breath and exhale–careful not to growl this time.
Think about good things…don’t angst out….seriously….is this what living alone for too long means? That everything causes angst?
Good things, Good things.
1) She reads
b) She talks to herself, so she’s crazy, hopefully crazy like me, like in a good way
3…wait was I counting or going a, b, c….
hmm……seems to be I’m getting more and more confused….
Wait, did she just say her name was Pri?
How long did I sleep? I look out the window, no light shines in. I wonder about that. The forest outside was so entrenched that not a droplet of light shone through. I wonder how it is I can see…some light is coming through, but it looks like nothing more than a misty glow.
The candle has guttered, I look at the wick and feel sorry for it.
I should get dressed, but I instead go to the hall, the back of my neck prickles
“Hello? Are you there? Its me, Pri….”
Was that a sigh? Cautiously I look around…nothing.I start to walk down the hallway…trying to keep my elaborate robe tied on, but the silk seems to slip. What is the use of clothing if it can’t stay on I wonder? Frustrated I see the rope for the curtains. Determinedly I grab it and tie it on.
Amazing how small victories can give you confidence. Feeling better, I slip down the rooms seeing what seems to be a study, a ballroom, a music room with many instruments.
Nothing is as well lit as I would like, and nothing feels inviting, so I continue on. Counting the curtains, exclaiming to myself over the decorations. Trying to keep my spirits up.
Oh look, a kitchen!
Hopefully she slept, I peeked in at her and it seems like she was asleep…but the light startled me, so I only caught a glimpse.
I hope she was asleep.
Otherwise why would her eyes be closed?
I did see that she had brownish/blackish hair, it looked a lot neater than mine. Could I even brush myself if I wanted to? It might feel good to use a brush.
If her hair is dark then her eyes would be….I realize I’m growling
The candle had burned down to the nub…I should have replaced it, but it was too scary.
I couldn’t go into her room.
Name, I need a name, maybe if I have a name I can start to define thing.
Maybe then I can look at her again.
Maybe then I won’t be afraid to change the candle.
I begin to get oriented. The big whatchamacallit left, and as he passed a candle was lit.
Did I black out before that? I remember all the feelings I had, but I don’t know how much time passed, or if I really, actually saw anything.
The candle is flickering…..
Can something that shape even light a candle? I don’t even know if there are hands or claws or…
my mind went blank at “claws,” probably not a good direction for my thoughts to go. Maybe that’s how I blacked out to begin with.
The flickering candle is comforting…it marks the passage of time better than the dark does–it makes me think of morning….maybe I should go to bed. Its hard to tell without any windows.
I stand up–I’m surprised that I’m not shaky, maybe its because I’ve spent all my energy on the..confrontation. Ok, good to know for the future, when I go through an emotional rollercoaster, at some point, my body calms itself down.
I peer out to the hall, of course no one is there. There would be no sneaking in this place.
Determined, I pick up the candle and walk. Its only a hallway, I tell myself. Its not as if its a dungeon or the forest. My eyes follow a gold line trim on the wall, the gleam of it comforts me. Dancing in the light.
The first room I open, thankfully has a bed, I lie down. I carefully place the candle on the winged table nearby
I watch the shadows dance on the ceiling until I fall asleep.
I take a deep breath, then another, and another, and another.
I can’t remember when I started taking deep breaths.
Ok, concentrate on something else–how about dark, it could be a friendly dark. Maybe if I can imagine the dark as friendly, then I can imagine the…..big watchmacallit….in it as friendly too.
or maybe I should concentrate on breathing….
there’s a kind of snort. Its not really angry sounding, its more like a sigh.
A really breathy sigh.
There’s a theme here.
one breath, two breath, three breath, four breath…..when did I start counting?
My favorite fairy tale author is a recent not-scary-Christian-convert (who really likes bells)! YAY
“I have no idea where I’m going” I mutter these words to myself and hear my mother step outside just behind me.
One day I’m home, and the next I’m here, muttering to myself. I’m on the dirt-sort-of-pathway that leads into a field and purportedly, eventually, to the forest, but I’m not really sure if that is true. Besides which my mother is standing there, watching me. She isn’t really saying or doing anything, she’s just waiting for me to stop running around in circles (literally) and to leave. For about a week I’ve been busying myself around the house, until this morning, when I awoke (after yet another almost sleepiness night) realizing that I had left nothing left to do today.
Blast and Bother.
Guess that means its time to go.
I’m happy, maybe. Its hard for me to tell. I know that I’m nervous, because my stomach is upset and my eyes feel kind of glare-y. But I think mostly I’m excited. I stare down at my hands, looking for dirt to wash off, but nothing gleams off of my slightly golden skin. I look at my mother’s hair, as dark brown as her nearly black eyes, and see my own in my mind’s eye.
Now I know I’m just stalling. Forcing a smile, I give my mother a hug.
She immediately beams at me “it’s time, isn’t it?”
“Good” she says briskly “I’ll go get your sword”
“My what?” The door bangs shut, she’s already inside to find it.
The next morning I wake up, groggy and with a slight headache. Time to get up Talia Jolie I say, muttering at myself to get up. I find that calling myself by my full name helps me to get up in the morning. Its almost like someone needs me, even though this is seldom the case, so it helps. I roll out of bed and start to do the chores. I start by building up the fire, mother never says anything, but she has been rubbing her hands more and more, and I think her hands are starting to get to her.
I never thought about how old mother was until this year. She had me late, a miracle baby she calls me. She could easily be my grandmother. But she has always been so busy and spritely you would have never known it. She still is very active for her age, but sometimes I see her look off into the distant fields, and I feel like she wishes to run and play but has not the energy to do so. At times like this I feel helpless.
And sure enough, my mother was there, awake looking at the fields. She started away guiltily, I don’t think she wanted me to see her, which means she’s probably been stealing more looks than I think. Sighing I weigh the options in my head, but not feeling particularly brave (or awake) at the moment….I decide to go with the safer question.
“Morning….mother, can you tell me a story?”
Instantly my mother’s face is transformed, animated and alive, she sweeps into the rocking chair that our neighbor made for her a few years ago and grabs her quilt in a queen-like fashion.
“Of course dear, which one do you want today?”
“How about my story?” I say, a twinkle in my eye.
“Ah, such a fairy tale! There I was, wishing and wishing for a child. I blew the dandelions down everyday for summer, and I threw as many crystals into the lake I could find.”
“Did it work?” I asked
My mother looks at me and laughs, “I don’t know…I know that in that summer I did more hoping and dreaming than I ever had before. I knew that I wanted something in my life, something….” Here my mother pauses, I lean in, I have never heard this part of the tale before. My mother shakes herself and continues.
“Well, I wanted you, didn’t I? So magic or not, it worked, as I was saying, a whole summer, an entire summer of dandelions and rocks, and on the very last day of summer, I knew. You whispered in my ear as I slept, and I woke up knowing you had started. And that was my miracle.”
“And then, of course, 10 moons later you were born, red and perfect, and I’ve been thankful ever since.” My mother ends her story in the usual way.
I look up, there was a soft tapping at the window, somehow it had started to rain in the brief tale my mother told. I looked out the window, and then realized—by the prickles on the back of her neck that her mother was looking too…over her shoulder. Talia looked back at her mother who met her eyes, something blazing in them.
“You feel it too, don’t you?” my mother made the query as though it was a fact. “Admit it, your being pulled.”
As soon as she said it, I realized it was true. I had caught my mother looking out the window, because I had been doing the same thing. The restlessness that was in my very soul was the reason. I hadn’t thought of it as restlessness, I hadn’t thought of it as a call to go because…”but I don’t want to leave you”
My mother chuckled, a rich, full sound with no sign of irony in it. “I know Tally, I know…but I feel it, I feel your need to go and I know its not me who needs the adventure, so I think I must be picking it up from you.” My mother fell silent to these words, hinting at a magic she had never previously had…
I didn’t know what to say, so I remained silent, a rarity to for me.
My mother smiled, a slow, sad and beautiful one.
“Its time Talia, its time to for you to go. I think you need to find, something, I’m not sure what it is, but I know it in my soul. You need to go.”
“But, why, how? I don’t understand…..”
“I think you’ve been feeling it for a long time, I think that you need to figure out why you can’t sleep, I think you are attuned to something…and, and I think you didn’t recognize it because it never occurred to you that you could leave. No one ever leaves here, and you love me” Here I felt a light touch on my shoulder “but its time.”
Thinking furiously, I started to make myself a cup of tea, knowing my mother was right, but uncertain about how to proceed. And my mother walked outside, and stood a bit in the rain, looking comfortable and satisfied as I continue to busy myself in the kitchen.