Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Yonge Line, the stick of Corn Pops on her breath.

Caucasian woman, early 20s, with multiple facial piercings, notably around the mouth, wearing a long black coat, fingerless green gloves and teal leggings with black running shoes.

Wicked, Gregory Maguire (ReganBooks/HarperCollins)

Page 19:

But even with these effects of light and atmosphere, the midwives couldn't deny what they saw. Beneath the spit of the mother's fluids the infant glistened a scandalous shade of pale emerald.

There was no wail, no bark of newborn outrage. The child opened its mouth, breathed, and then kept its own counsel. "Whine, you fiend," said the crone, "it's your first job." The baby shirked its obligations.

"Tenants Forced Out in Morning Fire"

The firefighter in the newspaper photo looks into the lens as he rushes through the lobby, residents huddling against the wall behind him, bundled in blankets and coats. One woman has thick curlers rolled loosely throughout her hair. She looks down, a gentle expression on her face. A small girl stands a few feet away, under foot of the firefighter. She wears galoshes and a shiny winter coat with a large hood fringed with white faux fur. The reports say the smoke was so thick firefighters couldn't find the doors to some apartments. The smoke had billowed up through the garbage chute pouring out at each floor. The basement flames knocked down, the firefighters turned their efforts to clearing the smoke from corridors and apartments.

The girl in the photo only appears to be under foot. In reality, she's hiding. Christmas has just passed. There was a pink iron and ironing board, a pink oven in which to bake single serving circular cakes, a pink mixer and bowl, and a pink broom set. The girl had propped open the ironing board and tried, at the age of four, to imagine a husband and family. She'd imagined the apron, the days full of domestic tasks, pot roasts and marshmallow jelly moulds.

In the basement, the superintendent had lit a cigarette, rules be damned. The chute had opened and a flutter of Woodworking had fallen into the basin. Cursing to himself, he'd leaned over the edge and grabbed a fistful of the magazines to recycle. The ash of his cigarette had landed on top of the heap.

The little girl was absentmindedly running the iron back and forth over a paper towel in place of a dress shirt when she began to cry. She didn't know why she was crying. But it felt like something this woman would do. She'd collected the pink things and walked down the hall to the garbage room. She'd pushed them down the slide, the door slamming hard, scaring her. The broom had soared groundward, landing in a spark.

She was certain.

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