Online Portfolio

Red Sports Car

The girl looks up at her father smiling innocently.

"What have you done?" asks the father.

"I wash my dolls in the dishwasher," the daughter replies.

"You should wash your dolls with your hands, or put them in the clothes washer. The dishwasher is for dishes."

"Mom told me that the dolls are made of dishes, so I put them in there." She smiles and takes one out, and it is squeaky clean. "See," she says and makes squeaky sounds on the porcelain face of the doll.

"Yes, it's very clean, that's for sure, but look at the red paint wearing off the dolls lips, the dishwasher is too strong... What do you want with clean dolls, anyway?"

The young girl thinks a moment and remembers: "Mom says dolls should be clean, because if they're not the devil will take them to hell and there they will work for the devil in doll hell making other evil dolls." The girl smiles at her mental retrieval.

"Your mother said that?" he asks a little suprised, and gets to thinking of his wife, and how she is slowly starting to go insane. "Well, nevermind what she says. Dolls do not belong in the dishwasher. If you want them clean take them into the bath with you. That cleans you, doesn't it?"

The girl smiles and nods her head in the affirmative and takes all of her diswashed dolls and runs off to her room. The father watches her go and once again thinks of his wife and her psychological problem. Just this morning she was brushing her teeth with chocolate sauce.

"It defeats the whole purpose!" he exclaimed. "Brushing is to get rid of the sugar! You're just making it worse."

"Oh, dear," she replied, "I can't stand the taste of that 'toothpaste'. What in heavens do they put in it anyway? What is 'sodium laureth sulphate', anyway?" She asked and looked at her husband.

Her husband looked back incredulous. "I don't know! It helps! It's better than chocolate sauce..." He was getting flustered. "Why don't you just eat some chocolate sauce? That would be better than brushing your teeth with it!"

His wife looked him like he was crazy and stopped brushing her teeth. There was chocolate sauce on her cheeks and her mouth was brown. "And would you like me to get fat!?" She asked in disbeleif. "No, sir," she answered her own question. "Not me. Not this woman. You won't see me waddling around with a biscuit in my pocket. You know how I loathe the heavy! You know how they make me feel! All that weight... Oh, Frank," she gasped and started crying, the tears mixing with the chocolated sauce. "Oh, Francis. My Frankie. All that weight!" She threw down the toothbrush and covered her chocolate face with her hands and wailed.

That's how it starts, Frank thinks, and closes the dishwasher door.

A year ago, in May, Frank's wife, Maggie, was driving in her car with the top down and the wind in her hair. She was listening to CCR and was smiling and showing her big white teeth. Frank sat beside her and saw her smiling and thought of horses he used to ride in Mexico.

Maggie was happy and care free. Indeed, she was reckless. She would drive too fast and while doing so, she would talk to Frank and not look at the road. She would start telling Frank some inane story about her and her friend Jessica and their crazy adventures, and before she knew it, she'd be heading for the ditch and Frank would be bracing for death, panic on his face. She'd swerve at the last minute and laugh. Frank's heart would be pounding and he'd look at his wife and think of horses on the trail and in the stable.

"Why does she have to be such a horse?" Frank would think to himself, seething. Maggie would carry on like that; telling stories, swerving, and sometimes, the oddest of all, she would start talking nonsense at the most random intervals. Frank always regretted having come along for the ride and was always amazed to have survived the jaunt. In her car, which she had got from her dad, Maggie was free: She picked random destinations based on inklings she got from passing thoughts or dreams she had the night before.

"Frankie!" she would say. "Last night I dreamt of the beach! Oh, the beach! How marvelous! Let's go, shall we? Oh, we just have to go! Will you come? You must, Frankie, you must! It won't be fun without you!" And because Frankie thought himself an adventurer, he couldn't refuse.  When in reality Frank was an surveyor, and although he wouldn't admit it, a good session of surveying things would always get him in the mood. So Frankie always accepted Maggie's invitations; he being prone to a gentle amnesia.

And off they would go in Maggie's red sports car, through the mountain passes on the highway that cut through forests and ran by lakes; beaches no where to be found. But that wouldn't stop Maggie. She had vowed, years ago, to listen to her dreams; to listen to the passing thoughts, which most of us dismiss as childish. On that occasion, Maggie drove 14 hours straight to get to the ocean, and took Frank the whole way. Toward the end her head was bobbing, and the swerving came not from tall tales of excitement, but from sleep, yet Frank was fearful none the less.

"Honey," he would say. "Keep your eyes on the road." Her head would snap up, and she would smile. They drove all night and dawn approached. The sky was lightening. Maggie's eyes were shining, and Frank would feel like he was on mushrooms. It was a raw feeling, and frazzled, and Maggie's big smile said it all perfectly.

The beach was great, Frank would admit - after the drive, after the long and frightful drive. And having reached her destination, Maggie slept on the beach, peaceful, falling asleep to the sound of waves, and the fresh ocean breeze on her body. Frank would cover her body with his jacket and look at her sleeping; now she no longer reminded him of horses, but of dreams coming true. He loved her on the beach, and would love her for years to come.

After having reached her destination, in this case, the beach, she wouldn't want to go back.

"The journey is too arduous!" She would cry. She loved that word, "arduous" and would say it at any opportunity. At restaurants, she'd look at the menu and exclaim: "How arduous!" So the word lost all meaning to both Frank and herself.

"I can't go back, Frank! You go. I couldn't possibly. I'd rather die. I'd rather lie here on the beach. Don't worry leave me here. I'll be fine. I've got crackers to eat, and a creek nearby. Go! Go and be merry!"

But Frank wouldn't leave her there. Rather, he would negotiate. "Maggie, we'll fly home. I've enough points. It won't cost us a thing. We'll get my cousin to drive the car back. I'll carry you if you want. You won't have to move a muscle."

"Oh, Frank. Don't be ridiculous. You're always being ridiculous." Frank would smile at the notion of him being ridiculous.

After days, though, (of which Frank took off from work) Maggie would finally drive back. The drive would be sombre, and the spark would fade from her eyes.

"Are you O.k., Sweetie?" Frank would ask. She would smile slightly and ask for some licorice. Licorice got her through the hard days, but these days, thought Frank, no amount of licorice could get her through. She was losing her mind.

No comments: