The Velvet Chamber
An Anthology of Revisioned Myth and Fairy Tale

Explore the dark side of the female psyche --A CALL FOR WRITERS supports The Velvet Chamber

Saturday, September 18, 2010

632 Elysian Fields

I'm standing at the corner of 632 Elysian Fields. Its hot, almost tropical, and a small breeze plays at the hem of my white silk dress. A moth flutters against my face. A woman tells me, your sister is at the bowling alley, but all I need right now is a drink. I got on the bus in Virginia ten days ago, but I feel like I've been traveling for months, years. I feel like New Orleans is a dream and I'm just a ghost.

The woman nudges me and says, like I said your sister's at the bowling alley, and I say, fine, she's at the bowling alley. She says, its just around the corner, and I say thank you, but I don't move. I'm remembering the last night in his arms. I'm remembering how good he felt against my skin. I try not to remember that he took a pistol, put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger, how people whispered, he was a married man. It's impossible I could be standing here right now.

I left home on July 10th at 8:00 a.m. in the morning. I didn't go to his funeral. The bus pulled up, and I got on. The sky was overcast, the morning air was cool. I didn't sleep the night before. I kept reading his letters. Searching for clues. It wasn't my first scandal, but it was the last. I knew it even before he pulled the trigger. Blanche, you can't stay here now. But he wasn't crazy about me. He was just crazy.

I see Stella walking up the street arm in arm with Stanley. She rushes up to me, screams my name so that it echoes in the dark streets. I wrap my arms around her, my little sister, my beloved, but I see him out of the corner of my eye. He's smiling and I can already taste his mouth on mine. If I could have a drink and a bath, I might be able to survive. He grabs my suitcase and together we walk up to the tiny apartment at the back of the building. The hallways are close, and I'm sweating by the time we reach the fifth floor.

A single light bulb dangles from the ceiling. Stanley drops my suitcase and gets a beer, leans against the sink like a wrestler. I see the same craziness in his eyes. Stella makes up a cot next to the kitchen table, apparently this is where I will be sleeping. A white moth flutters against my face. I wonder if it is the same one from the street, if it has possibly followed me up the stairs, into this kitchen. As Stella runs my bath, Stanley offers me a drink. I say, yes, thank you.

Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois

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