Friday, August 06, 2004

in which she performs the graceful act...

when i was very small, four or there'bouts, my aunt and uncle gave me a gift. i remember it very vividly. it was unlike anything i'd ever been given. my very own place setting. and it was very girly, something my two older brothers wouldn't covet or try to wrangle away from me. but best of all it was like having another little girl around. that sounds odd, i know. but the place setting had a very clever feature: when stacked in the order of plate, mug, bowl, it formed a little brown-haired, befreckled girl. the plate was a tiny field of posies and a tiny pair of feet with folktale slippers. the mug, a chubby girl torso. and the bowl, an apple-headed girl face. my mother put the set way up high on her wardrobe. i was forbidden to use it until i got a little older. usually, i would have just given up arguing with her, because it very rarely availed me to do otherwise. but in this instance, i argued up a storm. i begged. i whimpered. and finally, the little place setting was taken down, handed over. my mom heated black cherry jello powder and hot water to make a drink. i drank this from the chubby torso. i had sopa seca from the happy cranium. in the evening i had quesadilla from the tiny feet plate. i walked around our cabin staring at the quesadilla on the tiny feet. i was told to sit down at the table. but my mom was still cooking and my brothers were milling around and my dad was angry about something. noisy. there was a loud noise and i put on the brakes. my quesadilla launched. i grabbed for it. the tiny feet crashed to the floor, shattered. i was spared any punishment. i suppose my ma figured my own clumsiness was punishment enough. i don't know what happened to the rest of the set. i imagine it still lines the shelves of my dad's cabin. chubby, footless torso resting against the smooth boards. wobbly head balanced atop.

the other day i was with little sister in a thrift store. "what in the hell is that?! look! it's a head bowl!" and i turned and there she was. not my little chubby girl head, but one. and i got a big smile. and my little sister asked what i was grinning about. and i said, "i know that girl. i used to have that." she said she couldn't remember. i said, "you weren't around yet." incidentally, i much prefer my little sister. the chubby apple-head was great and all, but my sister is wicked funny. and she still has feet...ergo, it's a nice guiltless association when we meet.

 

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