#1 (459 words)

Under the bathroom sink, it sits among rolls of toilet paper, a box of tampons and one of cotton swabs- Mother’s bag. It is thick black cotton and red and yellow hibiscus grows up from the seam along its bottom- an inanimate garden at midnight. She loves the bright flowers. She believes they grow out through the loops of black thread. There is a ball-clasp top made of hard and shiny wood. The bag is pretty and heavy. Her hands, puffy and curious like baby-girl hands tend to be, struggle to unfasten its clasp. She uses all of her strength but it is not enough to open Mother’s bag.

Mother goes into the bathroom each morning. Her eyes puffy and her hair is wild. C. C. stands at the door listening to Mother sing in the shower. She cannot hear the words, but Mother’s voice rises and falls, drifts from beneath the door. She pushes her fingers there and wriggles her fingers. She wants to catch these sounds and swallow them. All she is able to grasp is steam, which melts moist on her fingers.

The water stops drumming the tub. The rings of the shower curtain skate across the pole. She takes back her hand and waits. She knows Mother is opening the black bag- easy for Mother with her big hands. C. C. hears the rattle of objects as Mother searches through it. She’s seen its contents before. There are plastic tubes of color, little dishes of glittery powder, a little silver mirror with a lid, paintbrushes, small jars of liquid skin and perfume (she likes to imagine the bottles of smell come from the flowers on the bag) and plastic combs with flowers on them, but she likes to imagine new items that are secret. Maybe there are fairies, too. They fix Mother’s hair like the birds in that Cinderella cartoon. Maybe that is where Mother keeps the medicine that fixes her lips when they are swollen and cracking.

Sometimes C. C. pictures Mother stepping into the bag, because it is actually a magic bag, and disappearing into another world. That world is always night and its sky is filled with yellow and red blooms. The ground there is made up of shimmering dust from Mother’s cakes of eye color- a powdery muted rainbow. Mother is the queen of that place. Little people like in The Wizard of Oz greet her every morning, giving her lollipops and flowers and songs about how pretty she is.

C. C.’s heart quickens. What if she decides to stay? That is her fear. Maybe she would be happier there because there she is a queen. There, she get gifts and songs instead of headaches and bruises.

mother’s magic
(Copyright 2008 beezies)

~ by c on February 22, 2008.

One Response to “#1 (459 words)”

  1. What a beautiful story. You capture the essence of what a child’s imagination does to reality. Amazing.

    Thank you, Annie.

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