Sometimes you need a break from working on the same piece for so long. It can get stale, over familiar, too close. Desert Rain is an idea I’ve had for a while now and will hopefully be my second book. I come back to it when I need to go to something completely different. It’s about peri-menopausal book editor, Carol, and her journey to the centre of Australia and the centre of herself. Here’s how it starts.
I’ve had this vagina for 54 years now. You’d think we’d be better friends. Friendship it is not. More like a dictatorship. Over the course of my life it’s had an assortment of things shoved inside it. If it wasn’t so slick it would’ve made a handy pocket, but I never could keep anything in it for very long before I just wanted that place within me to be clutter free again. Not that it’s closed for trade now, but, oh who am I kidding, it shut down a long time ago. When the slick became the desert. I still remember the first thing it ever had inside it. It belonged to my father. It was a hand-blown glass figurine of Pluto the dog. It had these long spindly legs and I gently eased its cold left hindleg into my vagina when I was 14 years old. That was 40 years ago. My god, 40 years. In that time, it’s had a deodorant bottle, a green highlighter pen, several thousand wads of cotton, fingers, tongues, thumbs, vibrators, a carrot or two, a broiled cucumber, an Easter egg, about 15 penis’s give or take, Pluto’s leg of course, and if you really want to get technical, my daughter, Bindi, who came out rather then went in. No wonder I’m tired, I’ve had an entire Cirque DeSoleil production up my twat.
It’s not like I hurt that it’s shut for business, I just feel a bit like I’ve let the side down somehow. I couldn’t care less if the circus never comes back to town. I always thought it was overrated. Then why, as I lower myself into the too hot water, do I feel that warm tremor deep inside me? It heats my belly like a blush and forces my legs open just that little bit.
Hot water swells around me, heating me up until I quiver just that little bit. Enough to let Carol know she’s still alive. Still has this centre of herself that will never stop aching to be nourished in a way that all her books and intellectual pursuits can never fulfill. Water flows inside me and I breathe it in, like a lover’s touch, like oxygen. So alone I have been. The wet inside me has gone and I feel her anger, white-hot. Sometimes at night it seeps through the house like a dissolute fog and envelopes everything, everything. It turns corners before she does, slamming into people as they walk by. Sometimes they look back, as if they’ve heard it or felt it, this force of unrelenting rage that pushes through them like a premonition.
Carol and I stopped speaking years ago. I can’t remember now who gave up on who first, but one of us did because the silence has been immutable. And how do you go back after that? If you’ve abandoned someone you love, how do you go back? How can you be sure you ever loved in the first place? Carol is already engrossed in her book. I can feel the Semillon dulling her veins like a cloud. How can I love again if she mutes my voice like the mother of an addict who refuses to see the truth? She bathes while I drown. Oblivious. Oblivion.
©Simonne Michelle 2006