Straw Flowers

Straw Flowers
"Straw Flowers" by L. Folk

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Dauphin (from Upon Waking)

When she awoke, the children were gathered at tables in their apartment. Apparently the classroom was locked and the parents brought them here, to the apartment she shared with her husband who, not surprisingly, slept throughout the whole ordeal and then miraculously vanished. The children were getting restless, and she, still in her robe with a curious stain on the collar, was slightly intimidated by having some twenty pre-schoolers in her private home, becoming all the more rowdy by the minute. But she was a seasoned veteran of teaching, and she knew she could pull something from the stocked bag of tricks that comes with some fifteen years in the profession. She decided on the game of telephone, and she lined them up and handed the first child the message realizing then that of course the child couldn't read, so she whispered it into his ear, this ridiculously banal message (what should the message be, she panicked, just a minute before and thought of something at last) and the child turned to the next and so on and so forth. As the message passed from child to child, she went to close the door to the hallway, when suddenly her ex-boyfriend's ghost, X, passed through it. X had left for the day, relinquishing his childlike Japanese wife to their children and in one fell swoop, dismissed the children playing telephone, commenting something about her having her hands full (no adoration in his voice whatsoever), then passed through the exterior walls and onto his meeting with a guy, the guy, regarding the online dating business he was starting. She tried her best to dismiss him as he did her, but couldn't. Just the night before, X's ghost shared a bed with her and her husband, and she, eagerly, with heart brimming, opened her legs to him and he entered her to experience sensation only, as one does when one reaches for a piece of cake or a glass of sherry. It was her husband who watched from over her shoulder, almost as if he pitied her because he knew full well her rampant desire to be loved and the heartache she was to feel by this heartless engagement. The ghost of X did not consummate the act; he withdrew and put on his clothes, packed up his things, and went back to the home he shared with his childlike Japanese wife, unfulfilled. So here he was now, casually walking through her life again, a ghost, a resurrected being from the dark lake of her subconscious where all was myth and mystery--his relationship with his childlike Japanese wife, mystery, his daily routine, mystery, his haunting ghost--myth. But she was an old pro at carrying around that tarnished chalice, and she went about doing her job, keeping the children in line, thinking to herself, consequences, there should be consequences, and then peering up at the clock--3:20--class would be soon dismissed and she could go back to picking up the pieces, tidy up, (she was always, always tidying up) recollect herself. The message came down to the last child and she asked her to repeat it, and she said one word: dauphin. The sentence, the original banal message (whatever it was) was now condensed to this, and she asked the children what it meant and hands went up, and a child said an animal of the water. Parents started to arrive then and mayhem ensued. She was left with the word, a word for a king's son, a word for an animal of the water, a word for a historical mystery.