Traces of Humans
C. EricksonTwenty four smiles on female faces arrived. Bending, embracing, laughing smiles. They entered one after another into canada goose factory outlet the natural gray light of the uk canada goose outlet entryway, some with halting movements, others with buoyant movements, all carrying various bags, the gift bags, in blues and greens and yellows, all carrying the purses, quilted, leather, white, plain, all asking what to canadian goose jacket do, where to go, where to sit, where to set the bags, the purses, the light jackets. The smiles of the women crowded the rooms with chatter and light laughter, all in notes high pitched, a run down the musical scale. And they, the women, looked with hesitant but cheap canada goose curious eyes to the young woman whose sister was pregnant, the other daughter.
This woman, canada goose outlet parka this other daughter, stood a few feet away watching them enter, observing the handbags, the wrapped presents in hand, the hushed hellos and how are yous, observing all the things which women do when gathering ritually. She nodded compulsively, with her own smile Canada Goose Outlet set firmly across her face, though she hoped it did not look too firm. One of her hands gripped her wrist, and her thumb dug hard into its delicate tendons.
Hands found and dipped and took from the vintage white bowls that were filled with salty nuts and vegan chocolate bits; these white bowls offered their generous fare from various perches on long counters, dinner tables, end tables, coffee tables. More hushed ahs and words of canada goose uk black friday admiration for the d of the house bounced off the white walls, a little game of invisible throw and catch the women played. Look at this, look at this, no at this.
The daughter continued to stand in the living room, bowing at the smiles and the greetings, loosening her hand, then clasping her hands gently in front of her, situating them over her stomach which she hoped was not too bloated, as it always was these days. She was not the pregnant one. Yet, being an adult in her thirties, the bloating never ceased, and it made her look pregnant, and it made her think about herself being pregnant, and, because she did not want that, she also did not want to look bloated, not among all the others who were pregnant. The idea occurred to her, though completely irrational, that the thought alone or that the nearby presence of pregnancy would be enough to render one canada goose outlet pregnant, in the same manner that menstrual cycles found each other and synced within the bodies of women living together.
She pressed the edges of her lips upward it had canada goose outlet online uk become so hard to do this, she did not know, easy muscles these were supposed to be, as they always said; now they were the easy muscles having gone weak from disuse because, well. As an adult she felt it canada goose store best to have no expression at all, neither frowns nor smiles, no reaction to hint at the unruliness within the brain and heart (at least of hers, both wild places), the untidied emotions, biases, deceptions there, all of which she was always in the process of tidying up, to hide, to shove away from the light of other people probing eyes buy canada goose jacket and ears.
She said the hellos and did all the things she realized she should have always done, because if she had always done these things, the generous smiles and the hellos, life perhaps would have been canada goose outlet store easier. It was not that she was mean, or unfriendly. It was that she had believed somehow that in middle class United States there were no mannerisms. And that being a woman did not necessitate the mannerisms. Hah, she thought, nearly ejaculating the syllable out loud with a wry smile (easy muscles here). Wrong. She knew now that for any group of humans, of women, there are the mannerisms, there are the things a person does, the canada goose outlet nyc mores, the gestures, the structures of voice and word. The tone. The flutter of an eye. The nod, the turn of a head, the way one stands. All of it, bewildering. Of course, only when you miss these endless minutiae, go without paying attention for a while, go without performing them as the others do then do you understand what happens without them. You become the other daughter.
She turned and looked out the window, looked out at the gray lake that blended water with a bland drizzling sky. What would it be like to live under the drab water today, she wondered, thinking of fish and their emotions.
A tense smile approached, and then an embrace, for which she leaned in. A woman, a lifelong friend of her mother stood next to her, and the daughter, looking at her, had visions of a dark kitchen, of plants under fluorescent lights, of a glass box lit with fluorescence, a canada goose black friday sale lizard inside. This woman told her, with cheap canada goose uk a look of static anxiety in her eyes, the look of life overwhelming her, about an aged mother just moved in. That once curled puckish smile the daughter remembered of this woman from earlier days had been replaced by a lax corner of the lip, dipping enough to give the face a semblance of dread. The daughter wondered recognized existential panic, the feeling she had and carried like a hot burning rock since a child, the rush of climbing the stairs of the slide, sitting on the cold, wet metal on top, pushing forward, screaming as she plunged down into the dark gray waters of the lake. It is coming; it is dark and gray and it is nothing.
The mother stood a little ways away, chatting with the aunt whose house they were throwing the party at, tittering as she often did whenever taut energy filled her veins canada goose outlet sale and muscles. The daughter guessed she was happy, despite the tittering. The aunt whose house had garnered the game of oohs and ahs, with its paneling, its woodwork, its floral and geometric patterns, its baskets, its stones, its vintage sets of knick knacks, its old furniture re upholstered in dark navy shades and greens, all colors that the daughter liked but canada goose outlet reviews knew her mother didn or maybe the daughter didn after all like the colors, but what did it matter to her? It was a large house. A house which, the daughter had noticed, had been cleared of all personal belongings such that when she had nicked her finger earlier while cutting a vegetable phase of pre shower preparation during which she worked in a flurry to set up everything, during which her mother stood nervously arranging pictures of the pregnant sister and this sister husband, doing so in a near paralysis from the anxiety the anticipation of the event induced in her, the anticipation of that wave of women about to enter en masse. For the nick, her aunt said in smooth mellifluous calm tones, almost sing song the canada goose outlet in usa daughter realized as she plodded up one of the staircases, Look up in my bathroom, in the cabinet above the toilet. So the daughter went, and she wondered, of the two large softly lamp lit, quilt laden bedrooms, one surrounded by windows of trees and the other with windows of a gray rained upon placid lake, which was the one they actually slept in. She had the sensation she was walking in a magazine. And could there be Band Aids in such a place? And yet, there they were. She found them inside a cabinet, along with other random personal detritus indicating humans did reside in the house. Traces of humans, she thought. It was repulsive to see the cartons of Band Aids, the tube of toothpaste, a toothbrush, the floss, the lone Q tip, all lying scattered and haphazard along the canada goose outlet shop ledge inside the cabinet. She put on a Band Aid and shut the small door of the cabinet quickly. Once again, the house was traceless. The daughter loved her aunt and she did not care that the house looked traceless. Besides. It was not her house, so what did it matter? She padded lightly back down the hardwood stairs, lined in the middle with a rug bolted in. But of course it mattered. Her mother house was at stake, and the daughter house was at stake, and every woman house was at stake. But the daughter would say zip. Nada. About anyone houses. Regarding her own house, the daughter lived in torment. Still, she could not figure out why it mattered. Because it canada goose outlet toronto factory did not matter. Not in the long run of it all, the run of human experience: not when people lived on streets and injected themselves with tainted heroin, not when children could not get enough food or education, not when young men acquired guns and killed people they did not know, not when wars driven by violent ambitions and ideologies displaced millions into thorn filled camps. It mattered; and it did not matter. Everyone agrees, damn it: it does not matter. But it did, it does. The daughter appeared in the spacious kitchen, smiling, lifting her bandaged pointer finger for mother and aunt to see.
The daughter touched her hair and crossed her arms, let down her arms, let them dangle briefly, and then crossed them again, and then, feeling annoyed, as if these arms were ape like dead weights she could not control, let one arm down casually and clasped her hand from that arm around the other elbow joint. A frown descended as she watched the women, watched them abstractly, as if they were blurred objects moving this way and that, and she set out to search within herself, to find anything, a button, a key, whatever it was she needed to switch the OS on in her brain. A button to clarify the situation. Nada. She found herself looking out the windows at the hostas, large blooming things that reminded her of dinosaurs, for who knows why. For a scant moment, she wondered what it would be like to be a man.
The daughter mother, filled with her taut, now peppy excitement, mingled among the guests, most all of them her friends. When her mother glanced at her, the daughter realized her frown and immediately replaced it with a https://www.amigosdecontreras.es smile, a smile plus a look of serenity least, she hoped it looked that way. She had to remember to smile, she told herself, lest she be taken as an angry woman, a crabby woman, a judgmental woman. A bitch.
Afternoon spun canada goose factory sale by. The daughter stood, twisted, moved. There was the speaking to one another, the hands grasping and touching things, the writing of name tags, the eating of the food, the talking, the cutting of cake, and eventually, the opening of the presents. The daughter felt she could have been floating high above in the sky, looking down at a house, watching, and always watching. She could see no door into whatever this assemblage of humans was. She shivered. There, the oldest woman in the house, her grandmother, carrying with her a crinkled style of a smile, an expression of accrued knowing knocked a bit loose from age, walked over her way, squeezed her arm, and handed her a book. Said something about sorry about taking so long, reading it three times, liking it, some stories strange. The daughter reached an arm around her grandmother, grasping at the nugget of comfort, of familiarity offered her by the passage of this book from one pair of hands to another, an action which produced the slit in the fabric of the room, a portal for the mind revealing other rooms, other women, men, worlds, wonders, disasters, truths, lies; a door that, as the daughter aged, seemed to become ever more lost within the spiraling whirl of the twenty four hours a day seven days a week cycle of the adult life. The spinning left no time for the search of this portal in the fabric of one life. The grandmother left her to visit the other guests, and the sister who was pregnant sat down in a large navy chair, beaming and heavy with a child, a goddess reincarnate.
Later. With a heart beating quietly in its own little world, the daughter cleaned up the wrapping from the presents, retrieved the list of gifts and givers not be lost! up more wrapping, laughed lightly, spoke politely, spoke with friendliness at whatever was being said, gathered glasses and plates, and in the shadow of an encroaching, anxious exhaustion, approaching like a dark tumultuous front of clouds on the horizon of her mind, she snuck and consumed piece of cake after piece of cake when no one was watching. A game that distracted her from what was inside herself.
Finally, the winding down of it. The daughter smiled, looked delighted, put the light in her eyes, said goodbye, smiled once more and said goodbye again. Then she began to wash dishes. She washed the dishes for an endless amount of time, staring out the wide, generous kitchen windows. Twenty four large plates, twenty two small plates, vintage. Red one in, wipe, wash and dry, blue one in, wipe, wash and dry, green one in, wipe, wash and dry, repeat. As her hands continually plunged with plates into sink water, the thought kept flashing in her mind, like lightning, yet something more disastrous than lightning, a treacherous piece of meta information not meant for humans to know: They say women around babies develop hormones that make them want to have babies. Bananas ripening faster by being in close proximity to each other. Bringing them to fruition, to purpose. That women eyes dilate when they see babies. A sharp breath caught like a marble in her throat. The daughter wondered if she were human after all, and with this thought, her skin prickled and a light tingling sensation flew up her chest into her face as a storm broke somewhere.
At the very end of it, deciding the rest could goodbye on their own, the daughter stepped lightly, soundlessly, down to the basement where she gazed at the cats held captive temporarily in their large, affluent cages. She lightly touched the black one on the head. When she did this, the cat meowed gratefully and closed his heavy amber eyes, and the daughter closed hers, relief.