Sunday, August 12, 2007

An object of idiosyncratic beauty

A loud crash. And then silence. Hurried footsteps. Shards of shattered vase. Glittering green glass glinting up from the mosaic floor. Barking voices and a child hanging its head with green guilt, mopped off the floor with a wet cloth. A strange twisty object retrieved from a corner.

It stands there, next to my old text-books, covered in dust. The old vase stand. It stares at me. Sometimes I feel it has eyes. Green cat eyes.

The vase broke several years ago. It was a green glass cone that couldn’t balance without the metal stand it came with. The stand was painted jet black. It looked strange, the way it twisted. Like a stretched spring. A strange spring, more like a three dimensional version of a tornado I had drawn- wide spirals on top, tapering towards the bottom. At the bottom, it was attached to a final large circle, so that it could stand.

It had fitted perfectly around the conical vase. I kept the stand. I don’t know why. A friend had given me the vase, on my birthday and I remember how offended I had been by the lack of thought that had gone into the gift… but my mother said the vase was pretty. So I squinted hard at it, and tried to find its hidden beauty… The metal is cold to touch. And smooth… very smooth. Goose pimples rise on my arm as I finger it. There is something magical trapped here.

I slide my finger down, from the slightly bulbous top of the tornado… round and around, like a roller-coaster that disappears into oblivion. Down… like a sigh, sliding down a sensual sinuous snake. The body of a mystical dragon… a magical beast arising from the depths of nothingness, with a bulbous head at its summit. Green dragon eyes watch me.

As I rotate the base of the vase, the spiral seems to rise, as though there really is a coiled dragon rising out of infinity and into my mundane world… I shake my head and turn back to my chemistry text book. I really should not be wasting time. Something is watching me. Calling for my attention. Green eyes.

The vase stand stands cold and unemotional, next to my books. I turn back to my book… and there it is again! Something watching. Something screaming… soundless screaming.

I turn to the bookshelf… and there it is! I glimpse a new shape. A woman… no, a girl. Her skin, a delicious chocolate brown, smooth and sensual as the snake she is part of. The bulbous end of the spiral is her head… and the tornado itself, her hair. Beautiful black hair. Lovely, long locks, swirling all around her…… and imprisoning her. Her large green eyes, screaming to be freed. Green eyes. Not watching, but screaming a soundless scream. A plea, to be freed from the prison of her hair… a prison she built herself. An exquisite illusion, a façade she created… which has now become who she is. And she cannot escape.

Whichever way she turns there are strong walls. She suffocates, tangled in her own fabrication. Only her piercing eyes cut through the walls of her pretence… and there is hope. Some day, she will emerge. Who she really is, even she does not know, but she is not who she seems… she is not the person she has projected. I blink, and the image is gone. There is the vase stand, impassive metal.

My examinations are frighteningly close. I really must learn to concentrate… curb my hyperactive imagination.

A rush of wind, and a tornado explodes out of the mist. A black twister, with flecks of green. An enchanted zephyr. The black cat awakes from a deep sleep, and scratches the walls of its prison. The dragon rises out of oblivion. Its green eyes speak of a longing to escape. A magical beast within. The woman… the girl fights to free herself from her own façade. A green-eyed enigma. For a moment, green eyes blaze strongly… and then fade into oblivion, like a genie sucked back into a lamp… and a little guilty green girl is sucked into the eye of the tornado… trapped until the magic of her being can transcend the walls of her prison… or at least pierce these walls again.

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