I keep her hidden in my crawl space - my dirty little secret - and feed her on blood wine and headcheese. Sometimes, when I've been real good and showed some control, I let her eat the rest of me - just as much as she can take. Mostly, though, she feeds me, and let me tell you, I have one voracious appetite.
She's a mighty fine girl, real nice and pretty as anything, but she don't talk much. Alice, that's what I call her - my sweet, dirty Alice, sits there and fastens me with a look like dust and dry leaves blowing through a quiet street with no one around to take heed. It makes me feel like a silent watcher, which, in a way, I am. See, I learn many things from looking out my window.
She smiles at me sometimes, and I can tell because the sun peeks out ever so briefly from behind a cloud and brightens up some random thing, nothing quite in particular, with its glow. Thankfulness is all it is and I knows it, even though she don't come right out and say so. Yeah, Alice is mighty fine, but she don't talk much. I don't believe she thinks I could understand her if she did, but there's never been a falser thought! Reckon nobody's been closer to being the head to Alice's tail than me.
Each night we go through the routine of putting her to bed. First, I bathe her in blood, making sure to get behind her ears and between her toes. I'm sure glad I now got the hang of watching for the soft spots; she does bruise easily.
Next, we brush her teeth - for a full five minutes like the dentists say - and follow up with a rinse. Alice complains about it tasting bitter, but I say she don't know much about men. Besides, we're all bitter on the inside, ain't we? I don't reckon it would taste any different coming out.
And finally, I tuck her into her dirty bed - packing her in nice and tight - and send her off to sleep with a kiss and a bedtime story that I make up on the spot. She says she's afraid of the monsters in her bed, but I say there are more bugs in the world than any other kind of thing, so we gots to respect 'em.
Sometimes, when I lie in bed at night, I can hear Alice crying. That sepulchral sound drifts up form the floorboards like a demon wail, and I bury my face in the pillow until the scream of my own body drowns out that demon and I wake my wife with my gasps for air. I can still hear Alice crying, so now I bury myself in my wife and take everything she's got - take so much of her she begins to cry too, and I can't help but think of Alice. She surrounds me till I feel like I'm under water and she's pulling me down. I begin to fight her, and the more I panic and thrash about, the faster I sink until finally I break the surface on the other side (like digging through to China) and I'm all in her; she's all I can think about; there's no escaping her. So I keep on taking and taking from her until I'm flooded again, but this time with happiness. I can't smile big enough, can't laugh hard enough, and my world is Alice and Alice is my world... which dissolves into blackness.
Serenity: the rolling gray sky before the storm.
I wake up dizzy with dreams from the Ether, and I stumble out of bed, making such a racket and knowing she can hear me. It's sunny out and I know she's smiling, thinking of me, waiting for me to come tell her it's daylight even though her senses see only night. I treat her good and she loves me for it. I took her out of the desert, the Man-lands, where you fear the day and pray for the night because it's easier to suffer when the world is patient and dark - when all you can hear are the whispers of the dead and all you can see are those things you can't have. I put her in the desert that's always night, took her away from the Man-lands, and she don't have to cry for them no more, only for me.
I learn a lot sitting at my window.
design ©2001 by Cindy Rosenthal
Stained Glass © 2001 by Bodhi
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