Doll Maker Louise Sorensen June 3, 2011
A wooden drawer full of empty ceramic doll heads. What shall I make today? Rapunzel walks in with a sandwich and puts it on the scarred wooden work bench in front of me. She brings no tall cool glass of water to go with it, so I cannot eat. I thought that when I made her she had creamy flesh and long blonde hair, but when I look at her now, I see that she has shining metal bones. One blue eye stares out from the socket in her silver skull. Her long blonde hair has curled and no longer reaches down her back. She stares at me with her glistening eye and I think of water. Memories of oceans and dolphins swim before my eyes.
To the east of my work bench is an unpainted wooden wall with a dirty glass window. The lower panes are all broken, jagged, and wind blows through the rags of curtains. Two stories down, the sand begins right at the wall and extends as far as I can see, ending in a fiery bloated red sun that fills the sky. The sand is gently grooved, like a giantess raked her fingers through it.
To the west, the left part of my house is made of white marble that blinds me in the glaring light. I remember a long rectangular pool in the courtyard, sparkling blue in the morning sun, but I cannot turn my head to see it.
The heat is never ending. I dream of water. So many memories; the shaggy donkeys in Mexico that were spray painted to look like zebras. You put a coin in a machine and a small pile of hay pellets fell into your hand. The donkeys couldn’t eat, because they were never watered. Am I a donkey?
Yesterday I saw a black swan sleeping with its wings folded over it on the white marble patio below. It was very beautiful, shining in the bright sunlight. Then it opened up its wings, and I saw that it was a lawnmower. It had the head and neck of a white swan, and black wings with shiny solar panel feathers, sitting atop a dusty old gasoline push mower. What is the point of having a lawn mower if there is no grass?
I wonder why I made a lawn mower like that. Or at all. Then I remember that I have great black shining solar panel wings on my back and think, maybe I was experimenting with prototypes.
I remember when there were oceans and jungles and people that lived in crowded cities. And no one had to make these people. They were just there.
Looking up, I see that the Rapunzel is still standing there, staring at me. Where is my water! I want to slam my fist on the bench, but I have nothing to slam with.
I used to like my job, but now I hate it. So the other day I took a shard of dirty glass from the west window, intending to slit my wrist. But my left arm was long and soft looking; with no bones, and pale, like it was made of putty. I remember slitting my wrist and the blood welling out thick and heavy like tomato juice. Good! I thought. I had trouble breathing and closed my eyes. The next thing I know, I am looking at a drawer full of empty doll heads. Why should I make dolls? Where is my reward?
Sometimes I get the feeling that I am just a brain and a pair of eyes preserved in a glass jar, sitting on a shelf with a million other bits of life, preserved in jars. It isn’t possible, because I remember the beautiful black wings on my back. I can’t turn my head, what I see doesn’t depend on if my eyes are open or closed, and I can feel very little of arms, legs or torso. But I have faith that they are there.
Today, instead of making yet another Rapunzel, or lawn mower swan, I became aware of a figure to the west, walking across the rust red sand. His clothes are black. His hair is short and black. I know that he is a man. I can’t remember the last time I saw a living man, or touched a flesh and blood person, but I sense that this is what he is.
The shard of glass sits on the bench, dried blood staining its edge as rusty as the sand outside. Should I slit my wrist again? It doesn’t hurt. But it doesn’t seem to work. I recall a saying; if you do the same old thing all the time, how can you expect anything but the same old results?
I will never look at a drawer full of doll heads again. I wish to spread my wings. They spread. I raise and lower them; they are wide and strong. Leaping off the marble railing, sailing into the air, I flap my wings for altitude. All around, from east to west, there is only sand; soft, sad horizons of sand so tired there aren’t even dunes. I fly to the walking figure. He doesn’t trudge, he doesn’t sink, sweat or tire. I land beside him. What is his name? Is he my Adam? It doesn’t matter. He glances at me, I glimpse an angelic face. His expression doesn’t change before he looks ahead again. Was he expecting me? I reach down with a woman’s arm and take his hand in mine. His arm is darkly tanned, almost the rust colour of the sand, with golden hairs sun bleached. His black shirt and trousers are covered with wheaten dust. Where has he been? I can feel his grip, warm and alive.
We will walk to the edge of the world, and when we get there, I will fly us into the sun.