Monday, June 2, 2014

Mermaid Fantasies, Revisited

In the dank corners of our partially finished basements, amidst water-heater tanks and mutating crickets, our mothers stowed plastic bins, stuffed with discarded cocktail dresses, dance costumes, loose suits, brazen ties, and more, our prized dress-up boxes. Sometimes, we draped beads over our thin necks, cascades of beads, streams, so many bits of tawdry metallic plastic they covered our flat nipples, some crass bit of fanciful armor. Sometimes, we wore old eyeglasses, lens thick and growing opaque, distorting the cracked tile ground, warping our steps, making us dizzy with disorientation. Mostly, we stepped gingerly into old swim suits, tied sashes around our nascent breasts, and became mermaids.

One summer, large, bronze men descended upon the house, crawled onto the roof, peeled away bits of black tile like black scales, the house an exposed and raw carcass, clean. As they filed into the kitchen to gulp water, we giggled and waved. Ignored, we donned sequins and bizarre tassels, and before the bedroom windows, which faced the hot roof, we undulated. Our bellies were bellies still, that purgatory between the fat collected as a baby in the womb and stomachs taut from running wild and fast. Bellies round, limbs loose and flaying, we undulated, mimicking seductive creatures we had observed somewhere but whose artful displays remained enigmatically elusive. Sideways glances, shaking heads, the occasional pitiful smile. At the end of the day, our mothers hollered our names, those shouts plucking us cruelly from the depths of our oceans back to this dry world; sashes, sequins discarded, we ran to the dinner table.

(image taken from Rebloggy)  

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