Saturday, August 7, 2010

High Drama Blogfest!

     My entry for DL Hammon's High Drama Blogfest was originally written during a two-week long challenge I took earlier this year.  Inspired by a different photograph prompt each day, I was to write for exactly fifteen minutes.
     On this particular day, the prompt was a manipulated photographic image of a seductive woman stood poised, as if dancing, at stage right. She was almost in silhouette from the glare of stage lights.  But dead center was (obviously Photoshopped in) an enormous pair of heavily made-up eyes.  The immediate impulse was to write a voyeuristic piece of erotica, but the contest asked us to look deeper into the photo, up our bars, and find an unexpected story.  That's what I tried to do.  You decide whether I was successful. :)

By Nicole Ducleroir

My hand pauses midair, inky mascara wand quivering.  I stare at my eyes in the mirror, but all I see is the photograph of my mother, wedged into the upper corner of the mirror's frame. In my peripheral vision, she seems to be moving, swaying her hips in slow figure eights of seduction. When I shift my eyes up to it, she freezes, arms stretched over her head, her body’s curves exaggerated.

The photo is old; Mom could have been my age in it. The photographer captured her during some performance, in some city, during some tour. I don’t even remember when it came into my possession. It feels like I’ve always had it. 

I think of my mother and chords of emotion tangle up, choking my heart. She is a loving woman, angelic even. The scrapbook of my mind falls open to a random page, of her singing softly to me when I had the chicken pox, to distract me from tearing at my itchy skin. Mental fingers rifle through more pages; memories surge of us lying on a blanket in the shade of a tree in the park, tickling each other until our laughter lost its sound and we gasped for breath. Or the summer nights neither of us could sleep, when we’d crawl out the upstairs window and lie on the hot roof, counting stars. 

The tangle tightens, reining in my nostalgia.

Darker pages divulge… The mornings, too numerous to count, when I’d wake up in my frilly, pink bed and stumble to the kitchen, dragging my teddy bear by the arm, to silence broken only by the ticking clock over the sink. No smell of brewing coffee. No boxes of cereal laid out on the table for a little girl to choose. No sign of an adult, anywhere.

Or the late night jam sessions and long-haired musicians.  Flashes of frightening tattoos and the strangers who flaunt them, given free range of our house. And me, cowering in the shadows of the stairwell, listening to the sound of glasses clinking and smelling smoke, its various perfumes wafting together in a haze. I learned curse words I knew where vile even at that young age. And when I wanted Mom to tuck me into bed, she’d stare at me with black eyes that should have been blue, as if she didn’t recognize me.

More often than not, she didn’t.

A knock at the door startles me.  Mom resumes her dance in my peripheral vision, and in the mirror I see the door behind me open and Ted stick in his head.

“You’re on in five.”

I thank him and he closes the door. I go to stand, but my head spins and I grip the dressing table to steady myself. One hand strays to my still-flat tummy, rests on the coarse, sequined material. I wait for the nausea to pass, but it won’t. I glance once more at Mom as I turn and rush to the toilet.

(499 words)

l'd love to hear what you think!  Also, click this link check out all the participants in today's

Happy Writing the Weekend!