Saturday, 21 July 2012

WoD #1 : Big Wheel

There is something fluttering in her stomach, and she doesn't want to tell. Round bellied, skin stretched taut like a blister. The thing she feels is just beneath the skin. The thing she feels quivers like the finger of an aye-aye tapping upon the tree bark, like a eyelash trying to hold back a river, like a misplucked cello string in the silence at the end of the orchestra. She puts her hands on the bulge and tells it to be quiet, be still. Hush, she says. Hush.

On the date they hold hands and walk side by side on a ground spongy with sawdust and moss. The air smells of sage and engine grease, and it slathers their skin like vaseline as they walk towards the big wheel. The big wheel is a moon from another planet that sneezed and lost the gravity to orbit. The seats are painted fire-engine red and beachball yellow. He leads her hand to one and helps her inside.

A crunch and a clank and the wheel starts to move. Like an ancient mountain god flexing her plates, the big wheel yawns into life. Their carriage spins slowly as they lift up from the ground. She looks at her lap, at her belly, at the twitching.

The wheel is very, very large and by the time their carriage cranks up into the sky they realise that the nuts and bolts are loosening. An ancient momentum nudges them slowly skyward like a dolphin pushing a drowning child to the beach. Still, the stars are hypnotic. The stars are spilt icing sugar and angels' dandruff and carbon. The stars are grains of white sand that split to the universe, exhausted with Hawaii honeymoons, tired of their overblown rep. The stars, the stars. The ground.

She looks down and sees the shorn bolts of metal and the moss recede like jealous relatives gathered on the dock to wave off the long boat to America. Their mouths try to fling kisses and their hankies try to flutter, but they are are swaddled in envy, they are green. Spattered in sea mist, the hankies droop.

The fluttering, the fluttering. She places her hands on her belly. She bends her long neck down and listens, and it is quiet up there in the thick crochet blanket of starlight. He watches her without a word, his face pale and dotted with sweat. His cheeks are green and seasick. He does not interrupt.

She puts her ear to her belly and the fluttering pauses and says "Cuckoo". And again, "Cuckoo." She knows what she has read about the cuckoo and she knows there is no nest inside her for the eggs of another. She lifts her fluttering, quivering belly to the prow of the carriage and looks at his green, seasick face, and she flings the whole lot overboard to the spattered star sky.

Falling between shards of rock and light, she hears the universe giggle.

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