I am very cold
, sitting in a vast hall, some sort
with high ceilings, drafts, and
floors. And I am clutching a toddler
in my arms.
I can't say whether this is my son,
or a child I raised, not of my own flesh. But I
love him and they are making me give him up.
approaches, David. (Husband? Friend? Brother?
Who knows.) He tells me it's time, I must go with
him. I follow him across the echoing vault of a
room into the ballroom adjacent. (What is that
music? Why are they waltzing?)
The lights are
bright, yellow, painful. And everyone is dressed
in bright swishing ballgowns. Stout women have
their hair piled in stiff, coiffed curls on top
of pasty faces, heavy with makeup. I shiver,
squeeze the child who squirms. I can't swallow.
The lady in the hideous purple dress looks at me,
smiles with something my feverish mind calls
pure evil. I place the boy on the floor and
Go on, kiss the pretty lady. Kiss
the lady in the purple dress.
over on his tree stump legs and attempts to reach
her cheek, which she has turned in aversion.
Kiss the pretty lady, I urge. He
fingers her gown with chubby fingers and runs
back to me.
I don't know what kind of
circumstances these are, not sure why this
scary woman is going to be taking my baby away.
(Is he my baby? I don't know.) It hurts to breathe
and David has to pry the child out of my arms.
Kiss the pretty lady, honey.
collapse on the floor and the band keeps playing
the damn waltz, I'm cold, cold, cold.
I wake up and it still hurts to breathe and I
wonder about this child, and I have the chills.
All day; through chemistry, trig, Lit, computer science;
I have these words running through my head, my notes
are full of them:
Kiss the pretty lady.