The room breathed slowly. Painted in quiet, it had begun to drift into sleep. Untouched and unnoticed, it had been blanketed with absence. And although it had been lived in, Life rarely visited. There was no breeze to pirouette the drapes onto their toes. No warmth nuzzled in the picture frames whose arms hold memories close. The only sound was the desperate clink of a hanger who loosened its grip; no longer able to carry the folds of forgotten clothes. Twisted stems and leaves pulsed through the door hinges and curled around its lock. Until, one day, a palm pressed against the handle and all the tangled vines pulled away. The door opened and a small figure tore through the stillness, shaking the drapes against the floor and clattering the hangers behind closed cupboards. This interrupting essence was a little girl, whose beating breath echoed as she stood facing the depth of the room.
A beige soft frame mocked the height of the girl’s minute body, as golden light seeped through etched shutters and caramelised the wonder before her. The edges of her silhouette dangled her imminent vigour as her palms stretched open with a surging itch. The grandeur of a crème cover radiated around her body as she stared longingly at the foot of a bed. It was tall and immense, exuding a honey of limitless possibilities. With watery eyes and a miserable grumble, she had convinced her parents she was ill and now that they were gone she could venture into the comfort and mystique of their pillows and sheets. Her eyes were not that of a doll; they were large and green and perfect- as though made by design- but they were coarse and fresh, seething for adventure. She stood before the bed with her hair, the colour of sunlight caught in a dappling of dew, streaming over her shoulders gazing at the land of cream grass and inflated hills awaiting her.
Tantalizing her, peaks of surfaces sunk into the mass of cased feathers, spreading a prickle in her palms that could only be subdued by pressing them into the malleable substance. With her rims of green locked onto the heart of this treasure, she took three wide steps backwards; her naked little toes leading with precision against the cold wooden floor. Her smile became the embodiment of joy as her lips curled up over her teeth, which sat in her gums like dice sprawled across a board, and her cheeks begun to redden around her speckled freckle stains. Her untamed brows scrunched together with a lace of mischief and with one quick exhalation she charged towards the bed. She flung her body, like Wendy, into the air, entrusting it in the safety of Peter Pan’s elevating immortality. Throttled in a tangle she embraced herself for a duvet plummet.
Her small body fell heavy, and for a moment time forgot to be so unforgiving. She was encased in mountainous ripples of cloth, loosened buttons flared open to expose the plush below the covers and springs – redeemed by her youth – silently and courageous tightened their core to bear her weight. As she fell, the world floated. The gold dripped slower between the flaking paint of the shutter boards. The sun shone brighter in the linings of her hair. The pictures leaked colour from their embracing frames. As she fell, her cat’s grey paw prowled into the room, pressing its leather pads upon the naked toe prints fresh from before. And as its claw slipped through a crack between planks, a white crescent whisker swayed to its descent; bowing to this marvel. Smudges of dust rested, static in the air, glistening in the panels of light, surrounding her in a constellation of illuminated dots. As she fell, all the shadows dissolved and Life lay impatiently hidden in the crinkles of a cover.
Author – Dione Cavadias