Straw Flowers

Straw Flowers
"Straw Flowers" by L. Folk

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Weekend Away (from Upon Waking)

There were important feminist texts to read, texts by ancient women in the time of a ruling mother. I had marked them for research and brought the books with me on my weekend away to an island where I was staying with some women at a friend's cottage. The cottage was a wise investment; my friend had good business sense and I was envious of her. It was decorated as one would see in a catalog with hardwood furniture painted white, colorful textiles, abstract art, acutely placed votives, and bouquets of flowers. We all commended her on her taste.

Upon entering the place, I had the distinct feeling I had been there sometime before with my mother. I asked my friend about the fence that abutted the road. Was it always there? It was. I opened the front door and the yard was marked with Puritan tombstones with small white flowers growing between them. In the backyard there was a queen size bed with a sapling canopy. Another fence separated the cottage from a larger house with a picture window. You could see the modern decor of the neighbors' kitchen and the state-of-the-art appliances. You could also glimpse the neighbors themselves who painted themselves metallic blue for something to do. I saw them moving around the kitchen, making a big batch of paella, their bald metallic blue heads gleaming.

I opted to sleep under the sapling canopy under the stars; I sought to be slightly distanced from the rest. While out there, I read my ancient feminist texts, the beam of a flashlight lighting up the words. I was worried I wouldn't fall asleep in a strange place, but I did. I awoke the next morning to a commotion down the street. The paramedics were trying to save a German shepherd from heart failure. The guy at the gas station where the dog worked as a watchdog said that they used the defibrillators on him. He was up and around now, but we were all worried about his heart. I didn't want to go near the dog: I was afraid of his suffering. But I persevered to touch him and patted him between the ears. A woman came then, to take him home. She wasn't his owner, but she knew her. She was compassionate, and I felt relieved that she had come to take care of him. I went back to the cottage to feed my own dog, but I knew I didn't bring enough food for her. That was just like me, not to pack enough of something; I was always ill-prepared because a part of me was afraid to go. Being away from home always brought anxiety and that was the big secret I didn't share with anyone.

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