Wednesday, July 07, 2010

aquariums and puppets

So there was a huge French house that I was lucky enough to lived in, even though I was a student and rightly belonged in a dormitory room somewhere. The second floor had a floor-to-ceiling aquarium running around its entire perimeter -- but the water was half-full and it was clear that the great white shark (and smaller tiger sharks?) were not faring too well. There was even a huge sea cucumber stuck on the wall that looked like it was drying out.

So I found the hose, and turned on the pipe and poured the water into the tank which filled up surprisingly quickly. Before I had the chance to see how the fishes were enjoying all the extra water, I noticed a painting/figure/doll of an old woman that was just settling onto the bottom of the tank - no doubt it had been moved around when the waters swirled in.

I stared hard at the wrinkly face and I just knew, that if I stared long enough, it would move. In all my worst nightmares and lengthy-imagination sessions - this always happens. And so her face moved, but I wasn't sure - maybe it was the water that was making her move - and so I tried again and again. And the face got more and more grotesque. I couldn't walk away - what if she followed me? I yelled for Sandrine. I whipped the curtains close around the tank to hide that face from my view.

Sandrine, who had been cooking in the kitchen, came running. What? What? She's alive, I said, trying to sound calm so as to not freak Sandrine out. I let my hands go, and the curtains came down, only now there wasn't an old woman - there was a wooden puppet in the shape of a little girl and she wasn't in the tank anymore. There wasn't any glass between us and her.

Ah. Oh. Sandrine and I stared hard. The little girl came alive, she looked human now, she stepped out and in front of us.

Sandrine tried to speak to her, but it didn't seem like she understood. Try speaking to her in French, I said. It worked (I'm very multilingual in dreams) and the girl said she used to be owned by a duchess, and it was a very long time ago. She didn't seem to realise that time had passed.

I vaguely thought of Harry Potter and how that movie had made talking paintings a lot less scary.

Are you angry I made faces at you just now? I asked. I don't remember her reply. Sandrine was pissed off by now - what the fucked had I dragged her into?