So exhausted from the weekend that I missed Sunday Night Anxiety this week. Missed it, but haven’t escaped totally obviously, cuz here I be this early Tuesday morn, wide-eyed and anxious. So what do I do when I can’t sleep? Do I work on things I should? Hell no! I crave fiction. I long for creativity. I seek abstraction. And tonight I pick up the first draft of a story begun many years ago. Based on one of those terrible nightmares I used to have all the time.
The Fifth Myrrha
Candlelight casts dancing shadows across the bedroom wall. Myrrha stands at the foot of the queen-sized bed facing the bureau mirror. She sees her reflection, naked except for lacy black panties. Blankets rustle. Hushed whispers. Glancing over her shoulder she sees Stan, her husband, his tanned back, his mouth suckling a bare breast.
The woman in the bed is Myrrha.
She turns to the mirror. She sees the reflection of her standing at the foot of the bed, and now she also sees the reflection of her in the bed.
Myrrha stands at the foot of the bed, makes love with her husband in the bed, reflects in the mirror at the foot of the bed, reflects in the mirror in the bed, and yet she is not really there at all. None of these four Myrrhas are really her. She observes the scene from outside it somewhere. She is a fifth Myrrha, voiceless and powerless, unseen by the others. She no longer exists.
Oy! What a cheesy story this one was! I had forgotten. Above is the opening, a dream. I won’t bore you to tears with the middle. The writing is just terrible. I’m appalled. I think I wrote this one early in 2000, one of the last stories I attempted during that Madness & Magic phase. The plot is super weak. Myrrha and Stan return to her childhood home because her uncle is dying. It’s a reluctant visit because she doesn’t want to see her sisters. Myrrha is the youngest and has always been treated like crap by her two older sisters, Myriam and Myrna. Many terrible tricks, hurtful lies, etc. I don’t actually introduce the sister characters outright, they’re introduced through a series of conversations Myrrha has with her husband and her uncle. She keeps insisting they’re evil-doers, but they seem to be doing all the right stuff, showing concern etc. Her husband thinks they’ve changed and she should give them another chance. This blows up into a fight between them the night of her uncle’s funeral and she storms out . . .
She’s too hard on Stan, she knows. And maybe he’s not even as wrong as Myrrha keeps insisting he is. Maybe she should reconcile with her sisters. Maybe they have changed. It’s possible. It has been fifteen years. They both seem very happy now, married to wonderful men, secure in their careers. They are the only family Myrrha has left and they’ve been nothing but kind to her since she came back. It’s dark now and Myrrha hears the rumble of thunder. She doesn’t know how long she’s been wandering around, but she should head back before the storm moves in. Stan is right, of course. She needs to apologise to him. She needs to speak with her sisters.
A small bedside lamp lights the room, casting long shadows over the wall. A woman opens the window at the foot of the bed. A storm rages outside and the cool air will be refreshing. She sees the room reflected in the windowpane. Herself standing at the foot of the bed, her lover and the other woman in the bed. Lightning flashes. Outside the window, her palms pressed to the glass, hair soaked, plastered to her scalp, hanging in heavy ropes, tears and rain washing down the sides of her face, her mouth frozen in the oh of a scream, blue eyes blazing with hurt, is the youngest triplet, the fifth Myrrha.
HA! I know. How O’Henry of me. No comments from the peanut gallery please. It’s terrible. Could I list anymore description for this woman?! Some things shouldn’t be attempted, like turning EVERY nightmare you have into fiction. This was quite near the end of the Marty thing, you know when I was starting to lose it for real. When Fynnigan ruled my dreams and then went nuts on the Ouija board. When the universe was really trying to get my attention before it was too late.
In the nightmare of course I’m the girl at the foot of the bed, in the bed, reflected in the mirror twice, and most terrifying of all caught in the mirror, not as a reflection but as in being trapped in the glass able to see out but not get out. Palms pounding on the glass, soaked by rain, crying. And this image of myself scared the bejesus out of me, made me scream, woke me right up. I was haunted by this dream, couldn’t understand what it meant really.
But so much of the stuff I was dreaming then was starting to bleed through into my waking hours, come true . . . it’s no wonder I was terrified all the time. And there was a night when I was out in the rain. There was a night when I saw my soaking reflection in the bureau at the foot of the bed. This dream kind of came true too. Walked all the way from Blackville on the tracks in the middle of the night in the rain. And instead of going down the road to home, I went back to him. It was a weeknight. He was in bed asleep, had to work the next morning. I scared the bejesus out of him when I sat on the edge of the bed. I didn’t say anything, couldn’t talk. Trembling from the cold, from fear. But it didn’t matter, he was glad to see me, pulled me into the bed, wet clothes and all, warmed me with his body, kissed at my tears and told me I’d done the right thing. This time would be different. He promised.
Mood: can’t sleep
Listening To: the shared wall boy moan in his sleep
Hair: back out of the way