Just a curious observer of life, sharing what I think & imagine through written word.
Beauty Brings Beasts
“Beauty is a curse on the world. It keeps us from seeing who the real monsters are.” - The Carver WHEN EVELYN WAS a young girl, she remembered the strangely exotic feel of her mother’s hair-prickled calves on her tender hands, evoking the same fascination of one’s first time touching a hitherto unknown texture—an elephant’s skin or the first barefooted step into beach sand. As she watched her mother carefully smooth generous layers of Pond’s Cold Cream over her willowy legs, she wondered when those mysterious, prickly intruders would begin to sprout from her own naked legs. She unconsciously wrinkled her face in disgust imagining the coarse hairs wriggling up, out, and free to break through the boundary layer of her skin. Her mother, unaware of Evelyn’s internal musings, continued to heap on the cream. She would scold Evelyn, too, if she didn’t do the same before leaving the house as it maintained her “lovely, ivory complexion,” which was associated with the coveted women of prominence. Evelyn’s mother came from humble origins herself, being a working-class Scottish immigrant. She lived life with surgical precision yet moved with the graceful beauty of a painter’s hands, introducing a touch of ornate ceremony to even the most mundane tasks. Mother could make setting the table for morning breakfast appear a lavish display, her slender fingers delicately placing each item of cutlery in its place, just so. And it was with this elegant manner that she carefully massaged the last of the thick cream into her hands, while Evelyn sat nearby, lost in her imagination.
I Am the One Who Is Lost
1974, MID-SEPTEMBER, HURRICANE season in Central Florida. The usually placid Gulf Coast waters were churning as Hurricane Carmen plotted her slow but intent approach towards the southern belly of the United States. Her devouring winds now largely threatened the marshlands of Louisiana, but even this far away, Bryn could feel the anger biting in the wind-whipped rain left blowing in Carmen’s wake. Moored in Port Tampa Bay on his shipping freighter for the time being, Bryn had no cargo to unload and no way to preoccupy this time not spent working. He leaned against the top-deck railing and stared across the blackening sky towards the Gulf of Mexico, watching the last of the reddened sun sink below a wall of turbulent clouds. A sudden, great wind rose and whistled, slapping his face with cold ocean spray, and Bryn, unflinchingly but with force, gripped the railing tighter. Inside, his mind was a hurricane—howling with ravaging winds and muddling his ability to think clearly. A catastrophe was unfurling that night on the undulating surface of the agitated sea.