My daily writing exercises can be strange sometimes, because I have no idea where the images and words come from. All I know is they are on paper before I know it. This is what I found in my notebook today:
In La Maison Bizzare, I walk up the curved wooden steps bathed in sunlight, run my hands on framed paintings on glass walls, turn to a grey carved door with a golden, V-shaped handle, find a room of white sofas, grey cushions which move and roll. On the ornate gold table are two tall candles that flicker, burn, drop off, and burn again.
I walk on wooden floors through corridors of grey-black, opening to white windows and a balcony that overlooks a stagnant pool of green water.
The air is heavy with the smell of moss and rotting logs, of disinfectants and decay, and amid it all, the unmistakable hints of Versace Woman, the smell of my mother. The smell that haunts our house, for it is no longer a home, that haunts our house ever since she left us to run away to bigger, and hopefully, better things.
At the corner of the balcony in shadow light sits a woman of blond-white-grey hair, on a gilded chair, swollen lips, drawn out cheeks and popping eyes, a woman of no eyebrows, and a nose that looks like it would burst, because surely it cannot be wider. I flinch.
Don’t be scared, she says, it is me, Donatella Versace. What happened to you, I ask.
I walk near her, because I can’t hear her very well. She did say Donatella Versace though, and in her bloated face and muscular body, I see that she just might be speaking the truth. Cover this woman in make-up and a glittering gown, and who knows what might happen?
I know why I can’t hear her, because what surrounds me is not silence. There it is, a stereo speaker next to her, blasting out “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me.”