Wednesday, August 11, 2010

People Who Have Changed as much as if They had been Reborn

This Pillow Book entry is inspired by The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon, translated and edited by Ivan Morris. Sei Shōnagon was a courtesan in 10th century Japan who kept a diary of the goings-on at court and concealed it in her wooden pillow. She made lists under various categories of specific, often quirky things.

People who have changed as much as if they had been reborn . . .
Not like watching your family grow each day together. No one notices the subtle changes: hair darkens, feet outgrow their shoes, bones lengthen, waists widen, and facial features become more distinct. 

One day a cousin visits. You haven't seen her in two long years. She is new. You wonder if it's really her, she has changed so much. She also sees what two long years have done to your appearance. 

She's grown taller, three inches in the last year alone. Her awkward limbs have grown fuller. Thighs have taken on a subtle bulge and her hips have grown into an alluring curve. Her waist cinches in at just the right spot and her budding breasts have become full. Held up by a demi-cup, each one threatens to spill over, forming cleavage at the v-neck of a pink tee. Low-rise vintage jeans hug a rounded bottom, widening as they encase her legs, flaring at the ankle.  The hem graces the top of patent leather mary janes. White socks with a turned down lace ruffle: a vestige of childhood.

Long, brown hair falls over thin shoulders. Soft curls twist themselves around her milky upper arms. The sun-kissed locks frame a heart-shaped face. Skin as smooth and white as a china doll. A rosy tint highlights high cheekbones, and big brown eyes peek out from long, full lashes. 

When she rests her chin on the cup of her palm and lets her eyes close for just a moment, the hues of brown across the eyelids catch the midday sun and glisten. Her nose is petite, a narrow ridge that turns up slightly at the end. Below it, her lips are parted, tinted with a berry gloss, they pucker into a coy smile.

She sees a group of boys entering the park. Lifting her chin from her hand, she swings her legs around on the picnic table bench. She stretches her arms out placing her hands behind her on the bench. She locks her elbows and arches her back. She sucks in a breath and watches her breasts lift. She notices the flat plane of her stomach as she sits up straight. 

She slowly exhales and tosses her hair slightly, making the strands around her face fall toward her eyes. Her long bangs are pulled from a part at the right side of her head. They sweep down across her face to obscure her left eye. 

Peeking from beneath her mane, she watches the boys near her as the follow the path between the merry-go-round and the swings. They are a mass of gangly arms and legs, feet shuffling, a shove here and there. One flutters about the group with an unpent energy- skipping, hopping, smacking the back of a shaggy-headed friend, slipping a sneakered foot out to trip the red-haired runt of the group.

She watches the group and her heart begins to race. She picks the male at the center of the pack. All the other boys seem to revolve around him. She notes his thick blonde hair, tumbling down in rough strands around his face.  His blue eyes are piercing under his heavy brow. Pink-tinted lips move slowly as he laughs, and the surface of his square chin is broken by a small cleft.  

She closes her eyes and his is there. Wrapping his arms around her waist, rubbing the small of her back in a gentle circle. His hot breath is on her neck and her legs melt. 

He whispers "I love you."
She smiles.

He pulls his mouth away from her ear and follows her jaw line to her mouth, pausing for an eternal moment before touching his lips to hers. 

She opens her eyes and the noises of the crowded park rush in. She finds him across the field and smiles.