Another excerpt from my novel that doesn’t know exactly what it is. I should say that some parts of the vignettes may be removed because the content is very much adult, as is the language. I try to keep what I post online relatively PG-13.
The page count now sits around 190. Not bad for 9 months . . .
You can read the pdf version by clicking here: The American Girl Experience and Magic Kingdom
they wouldn’t let me back in, after the second time. they kept me waiting outside like some dog. with them i’m always waiting: for silence, for tears, for shouts, for kicks, for stillness and peace. always waiting.
this time i didn’t wait. i left and smoked as i went. nowhere to go, nothing to do, just walking, walking, walking, walking no place and nowhere. a rundown, run away kind of a girl.
a few cars pass by. i wonder where Mr. Man is. i still cry for him at nite.
The American Girl Experience
Zen and I decided to take our girls to the American Girl store at Tyson’s Corner. Mostly because Hope had done really well in school last year and we wanted to treat her, but also, because we’re slightly masochistic.
There was already a faint rumble before we even reached the store. I braced myself. Then we entered.
How to describe the scene before me? You know those clips they show on the News of mobs of people during Black Friday sales, all rushing around and grabbing for shit? It wasn’t quite that bad, but it was a breath away from being that . . . except with prepubescent girls.
The way the store is decorated you come away thinking the primary color is pink, but it’s not. It’s actually red and there’s something about that particular shade that brings out a carnal viciousness in those towheads and blush-colored cheeks.
There’s a packed line to the doll hairstyling studio. Yes, they have a studio where you can drop off your doll and a very perky salesperson will sit them in a little doll-sized
stylist chair and do their hair, right in front of you! It’s not free, of course. When you plunk that doll down you might as well chuck your wallet in as well. I never know if you’re supposed to tip a doll hairstylist the way you do a human one. I wonder if Emily Post covers that? No, I just googled it, and she doesn’t, unfortunately.
All those droves of hard-faced mothers and their jumpy daughters eagerly standing in a very indefensibly long line make me think of cows standing in line at the slaughter house and happy to pay for the privilege!
Hope flutters about, eager to get down to business. I, however, am fascinated by the feral nature of the environment. Hectic salespeople with a vacant hopelessness drawn over their eyes scurry about, and you can see them counting the seconds until their shifts end. Some of them have thin lips tightly pressed together as if to keep their screams of terror and madness inside.
Other causalities include fathers who are instantly diminished once within. Some have a dawning angry expression as they realize what’s about to happen to the family’s hard earned cash; others have lost, forlorn faces which, I imagine, are akin to the traumatized looks of those who have witnessed the horrors of war. They seem to be thinking, “How did this happen, and why? Dear God, why?”
All through this chaos roams small bands of mean-faced girls who are already worldly and jaded at the tender age of ten.
After Hope has picked out a matching outfit for her and her doll I find a place to sit with Smallwise on the second floor so that Zen can let Flower run around while Hope continues to window shop.
The look on Flower’s face is one of utter joy and happiness, the way you might expect of a small girl in a doll store, but that’s not what it means to her. Oh no. That beautiful, transcendent look is the realization that this is an entirely new place full of things for her little grabby hands. Her face shines and seems to say, “All that I behold before me is fit for my destruction. It has been made small-sized, like myself, so that I might grasp it and tear it asunder. And I will.” Then the moment of stillness is gone and with a shriek of incoherent glee she takes off. Zen barely registers it and stumbles after her.
I sit back and wait. Sure enough, in a few minutes, above the cacophony comes the absolute definition of human desperation in squeals of rage and suffering. A toddler pitched wail of misery, and I say quietly to myself, ‘That’s my daughter. That is my daughter.’ Then I lean back and laugh.
Zen’s face manages to convey both mild humor and exasperation as he chases her around the store. She alights in a spot for only a moment, the way a humming bird or butterfly might, but her hands are lightening quick and lash out to pull down several small, pinkly plaid boxes, opens at least two, tissue paper and contents streaming like ribbons, before she’s off yet again. Zen barely has time to shove all the perfectly detailed tiny outfits and accessories back in their boxes, roughly shelve them and run after her before he loses track of her completely.
And I just sit and watch, laughing.
She actually manages to make it out of the store before he can catch up to her. Twice.
Finally, Zen has had enough and slings her over his shoulder. Before I even see them I hear her. Over the din of several hundred girls and their parents, I can hear her screaming.
It is the cry of one who has stood on the precipice of a dream, and then had that dream shattered the moment before it is fully realized. It is the hopeless fury of futile outrage. It is the unholy howling of a toddler denied.
Later, after we’ve tucked the little ones in for a nap and Hope is outside playing, Zen and I tumble into one another . . .
5. A Magic Kingdom
well, the smoke was thick with people, and well Faery and i decided it was high time we had ourselves an adventure. we set off, fearless and pink, and we brandished those multipurpose cigarettes <flashlites and fearsome weapons. GRRR!> and fluttered off into the nite. climbing trees, conquering great oceans and sneaking off into our magic kingdom.
the air was soft. above, the loud drunken merriment, and below, sweet smelling flowers and fresh earth.
Faery is SO much fun, she’s the only one who has never judged me, she is the only one who has never made me cry. we can be as unreal and an unpixie like if we want to, and we can pounce and be tygers, and we can be raving bitches and tear at the Flower Girl with our fake teeth.
we sit and talk and i realize just how much i love this girl. the weeping sky is pale and smooth like this hard stone that is lodged in my stomach, but somehow Faery manages to lay her hands on the stone and soften it with her smile.
i feel as if we are sisters, sharing a common tragedy, for her Pooh bear’s gone away.
in our Magic Kingdom we are never afraid of Fate, and their daemons can’t reach us. we put flowers in our hair, and somehow we are innocent and our hearts are not the pallid hoarders of emotions long since still with death, still with indifference.
perhaps these days are so precious, i don’t even want to think that they soon will be gone and if i keep perfectly still maybe it will never fade, it will never fall away, and i am such a good little liar. i am already old and faded past this . . .