Twenty-Five

At first, it was dark. Then I could see as if through a tunnel. And at the other end, there was snow. There was a man running around with a child on his shoulders. Or rather, it looked like the child’s body was where the man’s head should have been, upside down, with his or her legs dangling up in the air. They were running around a bit like that, then they fell on the snow. They reminded me of a headless chicken, how they used to twitch and jerk when my mother and grandmother cut their necks, blood sprinkling all over the sand of the yard…

I was not sure whether I should go closer and have a look at the man-child. Then I saw the kid get up, and there was the man’s body where their head should have been, and the child was pulling him with them, like a colorful whirlwind, like a tornado. And the child was running and running, head lost in the tornado (which was the body of the man). And then I couldn’t see the kid anymore, only the tornado, whirling, their body was whirling (the head still invisible), chairs and pieces of furniture whirling, and lots of sand…

And then I noticed my fairies whirl. Even though I did have a doll or two, my favourite toys were the fairies I made from my mother’s handkerchiefs and camisoles: I tied a knot on them, the knot was the head, the shorter part the hair, the longer one the body. My mother hated it because I put knots on everything, tablecloths, curtains… the house was a forest of knots… I surrounded myself with the fairies. They were my friends.

All at once I was in my childhood home, playing with my fairies in the room. My parents were in the kitchen, I could hear them arguing, but only faintly, because I did not want to. I looked out through the window and noticed that the tornado was huge now. Only it wasn’t a tornado anymore, it was water, very muddy water, carrying bits of broken furniture.

Then I saw something – or someone: he knocked on the window. For a moment I thought it was my father, but I wasn’t sure. I hesitated whether I should or should not open it, worried that the water would flood the house.

But I didn’t care anymore, I opened the window, trying to swim in the direction where I saw my father go. But all I could see was mud and broken furniture. I swam to the surface, raised my head above the water and shouted “Dad, are you here? where are you?”. But there was no answer. I was desperate.

Suddenly, someone grabbed my leg and pulled me back into the water. It was the Siberian man. He held my hand and pulled me with him, we went deeper and deeper. It was almost dark now, but the mud dispersed, the water was almost clear.

Then I could see a pulsating light, like a lighthouse. We swam closer. The light seemed to have antennae or tentacles, rising and sinking in a gentle rhythm. Like an octopus. As we went closer, I was suddenly sitting on a horse in a carousel. I was not sure I wanted to be there, I started to get dizzy, nauseous, afraid. “I want to get off, please, I want it to stop”.

I heard my mother’s voice “you wanted to get on the bloody carousel, you wanted to try, now you will stay there until it stops. you wanted it, you got it, now you hold on tight until it’s over”. My tears started to fall. I could perceive something moving with me, to the side, something big, but I didn’t dare to turn my head, I was afraid I would fall off. The shadow was moving together with the carousel. Then I was grabbed under the armpit and lifted up. It was my father. He ran by the carousel so that he could take me off the horse. He hugged me tight. “You are spoiling her, always spoiling her. She was nagging for the carousel, she deserved to stay on it. Where are you going? what…” I couldn’t hear my mother anymore, my father was running, holding me tight. I could feel his heart beating, stronger, stronger, we were throbbing together, we were one huge pulse.*

* This is not an actual memory. I have never been on a carousel.  I was a very fearful child. My father did convince me once to try the roller coaster with him. I got so scared that I turned blue and rigid, like a corpse. When the ride was over, he took me in his arms and did a runner towards the entrance to call an ambulance. But by the time we got there (and my mother caught up with us), I didn’t need help anymore, I was alright.

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