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LJI Week 2: Boomerang

This is my entry for this week of LJ Idol, Friends and Rivals (therealljidol). This week had three possible topics. I chose "Boomerang."

Let's say that, instead, she'd been a magician. Let's say she'd told you about how her father had caught her with another magician, performing a spell in the back shed. And he'd told her that he was ashamed of her, that she must never do such a thing again or he would disown her. Suppose she had relayed this story to you on one of those long summer afternoons, digging with both her hands into the dirt, planting seeds.

Let's say this conversation between the two of you, amongst mid-day's honest bird calls (before twilight's wailing mourning doves) had taken place years after the tearful drive where she'd confessed to you that she performed magic, and you'd quietly told her that you already knew. Kicking your Vietnam-era surplus Army boots up on the dashboard, you'd told her, "And your daughter wears Army boots." A story she'd loved to recount over and over to those who truly knew her.

Suppose, years later, she'd asked her elderly father to move into her house, without telling him what she'd told you. Suppose that, in the two years he'd lived with her, she'd left the magician's circle where she'd found support for years. Suppose she'd gone back to living like a fearful teenager, asking her magic partner not to come over, and this regression had eventually caused the two of them to break off their ties altogether.

Now jump forward a few years, after her father's death. Let's say she'd met a friend who'd seemed, at first, just another lonely mundane, but that she'd suspected otherwise -- that she'd wished and hoped she'd found another magician like her. Let's say you'd urged her to ask her friend to perform magic together, telling her that, if that friend was not a magician, but truly a friend, they could remain friends even if they did not share a mutual interest in magic. Let's say it had been your words, your urging, that had gotten them together, partner magicians for the rest of her days.

Now comes the tricky part. Suppose her magician friend hadn't wanted to be known publicly as a magic user. Suppose this friend's childhood had left scars, for reasons never revealed to you. Suppose that, out of love and respect for her partner, she had agreed to keep their magic secret. And that, because of this vow, she'd expected you to keep the secret, too.

But go deeper, still. Let's say the pattern of pretending had eaten into their everyday life like a drop of bleach on a T-shirt. You might wash that shirt a hundred times, but the bleach keeps eating and eating, until the fabric suffers an irreparable hole. Lying about one's essential nature makes seemingly smaller lies easier. Lies that accumulate, that devastate, until the five cats she'd admitted to owning ballooned into 15 -- or 30 -- and the house your family stopped visiting when it had merely become inconveniently fur-covered became a health hazard that made you weep when you finally walked inside, days after her sudden death from pneumonia.

Then you might remember visiting your grandparents in their tiny house in coal country, and how your mother had despaired at your grandmother's forgetfulness and about the drooling cat your grandmother allowed to sleep on the kitchen table. She would always make an excuse before dinner time, sweeping you and your siblings into the car, clutching bread bags full of root-beer barrels and store-bought cookies from your grandfather. You would all eat at a little drive-in, your mother deep in thought. On the twilit drive home, she would beg you to intervene if she ever seemed to be losing her train of thought, to stop her before she, too, was wearing a droopy house dress, braless. You'd promised her -- you had always promised her -- that you would.

The shed, the father, the promise, the boots, the cats, the secret. No matter how you spin it, no matter how fiercely your brain wants to take the blame, you must eventually come to a singular conclusion. Her path had arced out from that first primal moment of parental rejection, and though at times the curve had been imperceptible, those words had whipped back, over nearly 60 years, to cut the feet out from beneath her and everyone she loved.

(But like the good fairy, following the wicked fairy godmother, let's mitigate this tale with the knowledge that, over her many years, she'd heard the whistling of her elliptical path and called it music. And she'd taught you to hear it, too. There is, at least, that much healing truth.)



( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 14th, 2015 06:17 am (UTC)
This is lovely and sad—it's got a wonderful rhythm to it. Wonderfully done.
Dec. 14th, 2015 12:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I felt the topic lent itself naturally to the feeling of thoughts circling back on themselves.
Dec. 14th, 2015 02:51 pm (UTC)
This is wonderfully written, with such a great rhythm telling such a sad series of events. Very well done!
Dec. 14th, 2015 03:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I thought it was an apt metaphor. Glad tou agree.
Dec. 14th, 2015 11:31 pm (UTC)
I like how in control the speaker is although the subject is so out of control. That's a great contrast! And the prompt leaves no room for interpretation with the subject - you did a strong job bringing everything back, returning it to the root. This was a painful read but one of those rare bits of writing that gives more than it takes. Well done.
Dec. 15th, 2015 01:03 am (UTC)
I feel like I'm repeating others' comments, but this is wonderfully written and has such a good pacing and rhythm to it - and sweetness, as well. Good job!
Dec. 16th, 2015 08:03 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I found the rhythm almost accidentally, as I was trying to mimic the effect of having ideas circle again and again in one's head.
(no subject) - sinnamongirl - Dec. 16th, 2015 06:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 15th, 2015 05:56 am (UTC)
Glad to be back and be exposed to your writing again. It's always a pleasure reading.
Dec. 17th, 2015 01:38 am (UTC)
Thank you! It's good to be read.
Dec. 15th, 2015 12:24 pm (UTC)
Wonderfully written..like an aching melody..Good job!
Dec. 17th, 2015 01:40 am (UTC)
I love that description of it. Thanks!
Dec. 15th, 2015 05:41 pm (UTC)
Lovely. I enjoyed this very much.
Dec. 17th, 2015 01:39 am (UTC)
That's wonderful to hear. Thank you!
Dec. 15th, 2015 06:39 pm (UTC)
This was really interestingly written. :) I enjoyed that I didn't get what I expected. :)
Dec. 17th, 2015 01:07 am (UTC)
Thanks. Not sure what you expected, but I'm glad I was able to surprise you.
Dec. 16th, 2015 12:22 am (UTC)
So hauntingly tragic and lovely at the same time. A warning for the support we all need, a callout on the failure we all must at some point be, a victory of personal triumph in the face of a foundationless life. Much love. Much, much love.

Dec. 16th, 2015 08:08 am (UTC)
Your summary means so much to me, as it names everything I had tried to do and more. Thanks, as always, for the support.
Dec. 16th, 2015 05:44 am (UTC)
What a sad and tragic time line. Out of curiosity, were you referring to magic as in sleight of hand? Or Magick, the practice used by many of the Pagan and Druid persuasion? I hope it's okay to ask.
Dec. 16th, 2015 08:06 am (UTC)
I think it works better if you think of it as Magick, as in the Pagan practice, since that is often frowned upon by society. For this piece, I was faced with finding a way to write about something that I had promised not to write about, feeling obligated to hold onto that promise even after death, because one of the partners is still alive.
Dec. 17th, 2015 02:21 am (UTC)
I really loved the meditative tone of this piece.
Dec. 17th, 2015 10:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you. That's the sort of brain waves my mind has been producing lately. It is a season of contemplation.
Dec. 17th, 2015 05:27 pm (UTC)
You can feel the loneliness
Dec. 17th, 2015 10:41 pm (UTC)
Definitely a part of the mood I was trying to create. Thanks for letting me know your impressions.
Dec. 17th, 2015 08:33 pm (UTC)
I actually read this as a metaphor for someone who was a lesbian. She found a few rare moments of love, but mostly hid herself from outside judgments and lack of romantic opportunity. She was lucky enough to find love again, but the partner's desire for them both to remain hidden still tainted their relationship and it all stemmed from the poisoning pain that so afflicted the partner's life.

You might not have meant that at all, but it the abstraction here suits it. And it shows very clearly how the rejection inflicted on one person can spread in ripples to harm the lives of others around that person.
Dec. 17th, 2015 10:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for these comments. I love how deeply you read my work. It's always great to see what readers get out of what I write.
(no subject) - dmousey - Dec. 18th, 2015 05:20 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 17th, 2015 10:00 pm (UTC)
I'm intrigued by the underlying metaphor. :)
Dec. 17th, 2015 10:42 pm (UTC)
I hope it wasn't too obscure for you. One must sometimes walk a delicate balance.
Dec. 18th, 2015 05:14 am (UTC)
This was... am not sure what to say, so... Thank you for sharing. Peace~~~D

P.S. Me being at a loss is a good thing! (Laughing)

Edited at 2015-12-18 05:22 am (UTC)
Dec. 18th, 2015 11:24 am (UTC)
Thanks for the P.S. I was a little worried! LOL.

Yes, this piece was a little heavy and "inside," so I don't blame you for being a bit lost.
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