How do I begin?

I am at Hillside Mall.  My backpack is on the chair opposite.  My collection of Mavis Gallant stories is on the table.  I haven’t started it.  I have a thermos of coffee and a mug.  I do this coffee thing almost every morning, and suddenly I am conscious of the expense.  That consciousness, if it follows true to pattern, will not last.  As I pour my coffee, I look around.  Next to me is a table of Chinese gentlemen…in other words, old guys…and I look them over.  I think of how our features change as we grow older, yet the shadow, a glimpse of  our youth, remains…to tease us?  make mock?  I think of looking in a mirror, and seeing that I am old.  I think of a young girl, looking in a mirror, and realizing she is almost not a girl, anymore.  I think of looking in a mirror, and despairing, I think of looking in a mirror and giving myself a thumbs up, and speculate on why.  Across the food court, I see a young woman and a boy.  The boy is soft looking, almost feminine.  Like some boys look, almost both genders at once.  She is a redhead.  Light red hair.   Done up in a bun.  I wonder if she is conscious of self control, if she is afraid to let loose, let her hair go wild.  I wonder how old she is.  Is she the boy’s sister, older sister, big sister?  Has she some duty to perform, is she about to take him to the clinic?  She reminds me of an American swimmer I saw on youtube, very strong looking, very feminine, all at once.  What is her name?  I think of a flower name…Dahlia.  I think she is Dahlia, but it is pronounced Daw-lee-ah, not Day-lee-ah, or Dah-lee-ah.  And she is always correcting people.  She is very self-conscious about her name.  She may change the spelling, but not yet.  Dahlia was the favourite flower of her uncle Hennesey, who died last year.  She loved him dearly, and always turned to him.  It was too bad his son was so mean to her.  The wounds still hurt.  Will they always?  Her mother named her after the flower, because she loved her brother, some say too much.  Dahlia has brothers.  How does she love them?  The little one is easy.   Dahlia’s older brother has six years on her.  She always wanted to hang out with him and his buddies, but when she was nine, something happened.

Then I finished my coffee, and started to read the Mavis Gallant, but I thought about Dahlia all the way home.  Perhaps something will come of that.  Perhaps not.  No.  It will.  Nothing is lost, just sometimes difficult to retrieve.   So, I write this to fix it in my mind.  Perhaps a story/poem/novel will begin:  Her name was Dahlia.

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Published in: on June 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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