Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Symbols

She saw a numeral, a 3.

An upside-down triangle.

Beside it, a triangle with the point towards heaven.

There were more symbols, she could feel them talking with soft words, in a language she could not understand, but the shapes had obscured themselves, blending into each other like colored oils.

She had awoken in her warm bed of feathers and fine silks to the bright white light of day. She had dreamed of a closed door and two men with white horns, but as her eyes fluttered open, she was surprised to find herself alone, covered in day. She lay still for several minutes, tuning into the metronome of her heart, listening to the sounds of the room and the music just beyond the stone walls. There were animals and merchants and men, all moving slowly, all with their own particular calls. Some with brass bells and hammers, other’s shouting their wares and demands. It was a typical morning, a known rhythm. She could picture it all. The smell of worn leather and grease, smoke and incense, the scent of hay.

And though the sounds seemed familiar, there was another that lay the foundation to all she heard. She lay still, focusing on the steady beat of the clock, such a faithful object of normality, always ticking. It was the sound of the moving brass hands that lulled her to sleep and it was the repetition that somehow called her from the dreams.

And then, as though controlled by a puppet master, she brought her warm pink hand to her face, slower than she would have moved her arm, so much slower than her tendency. The hand came towards her as though it needed attention, as though it had just been birthed from the warm folds of silk and was now taking its first breath in a new waterless world. Here was bright light. Here was something that could see. Eyes and a face, a mind to comprehend.

The dainty white hand hovered a few inches above her face, just close enough for minute ripples of alarm to spread as she saw the series of numbers and shapes on her index finger. It had not been there when she went to bed. She had gotten into the curious habit of studying her body in the mirror before bed, looking for such strange signs. It had turned into a compulsion. She didn’t know what she was searching for and she smiled shyly at herself in the mirror and candlelight flickered, a bit embarrassed by the nightly ritual, but she did it again and again, looking for something. There had only been pale skin and freckles. But in the night something had happened. She searched her dreams for a clue. A door, white horns. She looked deeper, allowing her body to relax and drift, to begin the journey once again.

a field with a book,
a man’s face she could not see.

She pulled herself out of the waves and looked at the symbols once again. She closed her eyes slowly, feeling her heart. It was calm, there was no fear. The ripples had faded.

She had grown to expect strange things, to hope for them perhaps, though part of her mind held onto modesty and stable things like stones and wax. But as she learned always, repeatedly, all things were possible in Diappinee. Puppets and humans alike played, devising ways to come through the tunnels left wide open in dreams.

No comments: