Saturday, March 15, 2008

chalk dust

She's in her Dad's office. It's dusty. There are lots of books and neat piles of bland looking magazines everywhere. Daddy's raincoat is on the teetering coat rack and there is chalk dust in the air. Sometimes she draws pictures on the blackboard but not now. Now she and her sister are playing the funnest game, "Princess". It involves a large handkerchief and a stranded maiden. They take turns waving the large cloth square out othe window like someone imitating a gay man, as they sing "Help me! SAVE me!" in falsetto. There are imaginary crocodiles just below.
It's Saturday, the necessary piano lessons are over and she's excited by the freedom that starts precisely now every week. The adults will be in a good mood tonight and mostly ignore the kids. Her Mom will put on a silk Moo-moo with an apron over it and heat frozen eggrolls in the little oven. Her dad will make martinis with shiny silver tools and clear liquid and olives.
Right now her Dad does not share her pleasure in the princess game. With obvious effort he extracts his mind from this work and calmly tells her that she can't wave that out the window anymore. However, she may, if she likes, pretend that this coat hanger is a window and wave through it. She and her sister stare at him. She's mortified by the suggestion but he's asked so nicely that she can't say no. She pretends to do it momentarily, embarrassed and feeling sorry for her Dad.

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