“Write.” they said. But I hardly ever do-
And so she got me started, slashing her left wrist and then her right. “Paper dolls bleed dreams.” she intoned, and then I awoke, looking for Elinore among the bed covers.
I ripper her up when I was five, maybe six years old.
Maybe I dreamed it. But of course I did! Still, it felt as though she were here, in this room, and more- that she had fallen on hard luck. She had become one of those women that men roll down their windows for.
I understood this from the delicate shirrings of paper fishnet stockings, and from the dropped shoulders of the magenta sweater she was wearing, just a little too tight and noticeably designed on recycled paper.
I understood that it was my fault, somehow; that as a child I had disappointed the aspirations of too many toys. Elinore’s whole future had been consecrated into one act that left scars, jagged and curling across the flimsy sheafs of doll time. There was no refuting this. These were dead years that I had stolen away with the unconcern of children.
I raised my hand in sleep to protest, and found the list gripped between my thumb and forefinger. It was a doll’s list of my dreams and accomplishments, printed in a faint, jagged penmanship. I am reading it now, with a mixture of admiration and unrest; admiration at the extraordinary person I’d become, and uneasiness at the malicious slash which each item was checked off with. The red marks are like scowls leering up at me from the page. Was that Elinore’s doing? I can’t believe a toy would go to such an effort. I can’t believe any of this! I am locked in sleep still, alone with my relentless dissatisfaction in a marvelous future.
1. Become an orphan (check)
2. Hunt a rhino (check)
3. Kiss a prince (check)
4. Master the fine art of Buon Fresco (check)
5. Learn eleven languages including three dead dialects (check)
6. Wrestle the giant squid (check)
7. Climb Kilimanjaro (check)
8. Teach a monkey to dance (check)
9. Teach a man to put the lid down (No go)
10. Pioneer quantum dating (check)
11. Walk on the moon (check)
12. Marry a poet (check)
13. Divorce a poet (check)
14. Have post-marital sex with a poet (check)
15. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef (check)
16. Write a small book of poems entitled “Farting Sideways” (check)
17. Get panned in the New York Times Book Review (check)
18. Donate six million dollars to the Hernia Research Fund (check)
19. Attempt to drown self in children’s pool at YMCA (No go)
20. Remove own tonsils on a park bench in central Los Angeles (check)
22. Marry an ex-dutch circus clown. (check)
23. Die screaming in bed. (che-