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Baby doll Baby doll
by Abigail George
2010-08-24 07:41:15
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The body is always beautiful when it seriously expresses any form of athleticism or touch, the pure body of soul; when it dismisses laziness or the heat with an invincible push of a button from daydream to a glimmering focus that shifts into view. It is most beautiful in an embrace at an airport, a meeting place, in a restaurant where every glance is heartfelt. When people have missed other, want to greet and comfort each other. It’s most authentic when it is warm and fuzzy, when excitement shapes the air. When you wish you were on the receiving end on the other side of the room or had just arrived home, elsewhere or for a meal with friends. It is even more beautiful when it compensates for travelling back in time, through illness when reliving the past is painful. Making us realise that the walls of love are like freedom fighters, at heart they are painfully fragile, giving, yet still living and eternal.

I was taught from an early age that not everything is legitimate in black and white. I was taught to question the authority of everything around me in my immediate environment with crisp curiosity, with candour and then test the honesty of it with inevitable closure. I never rejected that as an adult, a youth, a schoolgirl but most of all as a swimmer. In the water you could shrug off that compulsion that the other bodies in the water were harmful, toxic or that they would hurt you. As a child, whose life is ever defined by normal? As a writer how can your life ever be defined as normal, the hours that you sleep, the books you devour and the company that you keep?

My aunt’s, my mother’s oldest sister, voice on the telephone sounded far away, too bright, too breezy these days to be sincere. Her energy to dispel the fact that a person is uninvited is unnerving. The women in my family have a lot to answer for, as does Nabokov’s Lolita, his baby doll. They are neither original nor unique in being a weaving mass of contradictions, precocious, helpless and desperate to feast on comfort food when they are depressed.

I decided since most gifted children never reach their peak in adulthood, the infinite realm of possibilities that the world offered me were limited. I realised this at a young age, I would always feel defeated unless my talents that my mother had fostered could not be on display. I promptly fell in love with writing short stories, book reviews for my local newspaper’s children’s section and the school magazine of which I had been made editor. I fell in love with the stage and theatre. I felt terrified that in arranging my life perfectly from the inside (my brain), via my heart to the outside world that happiness would always elude me.

In the water I can forget the numbing, thudding, painful hunger that devours the global images of war playing inside my head, the teenagers in the pool preening like boys on film. At last I am beginning to come alive to the possibility that my limbs are an extended yet unfinished part of an exquisite secret machine that smoothly karate chops through the air this Friday afternoon in the community pool.

The aerated chlorinated bubbles of water in the turquoise pool energise and revive me, lift my legs, support my arms, bathing me in an aqua blue illuminated light as I kick, pull and breathe. My head shoots and dips in and out of the water, in sync with the calm, peaceful atmosphere of the day ahead. There’s no wind, no faint ripples at the edge of the side as I peer over, the weather shimmers, the air seems as if it is glowing and I no longer feel that I am trapped, or that I am a soulless fake with a mask for a face. My attraction to the appearances of unspoken beauty in a new world, a ridiculous line in a sitcom, a happy headline, a song on the radio is not heightened yet this afternoon as I search for the rush of colour in every destination when I drive home. I do think as a human race we will cease to exist if we do not fight for what we believe in. I do sometimes wonder if the sea and the sky is a perfect match, then who did a vanishing act on us?

A woman is transformed by love; a girl, a Lolita, Nabokov’s baby doll by the unspeakable, a man by his heart and the human race is governed by the human condition. Lolita is driven by vengeance in all her relationships, which ends until she feels cherished and honoured. Until she is respected and protected, until she doesn’t feel ashamed anymore of her reputation, until she is listened to without interruption instead of being pursued for intimate relations, clandestine engagements.

Secret truths become simple truths down the ages, through the generations. They become invincible as you begin to align yourself with the universe. I realise I no longer wished to work in television towards becoming an executive but I want to be a writer. I don’t feel older, I don’t feel wiser but I do feel more comfortable with myself and how I express. My outrage is no longer a thin, black line but reticence and an outward relief where I rearrange things at an external level that vanishes at will. There is nothing doll-like about me anymore or about the nation I live in. I’ve finally received my late registration into an adult world. I walk facing the wise, the sun, feeling a gentler confidence in my step that resonates inside my heart, inside my head that seems to defy all the beauty that the world possesses. I don’t wish that the clock would fight daylight anymore. When I first came home from Johannesburg, I predicted failure, stress even humiliation. I had dreamed the impossible dream that no one from my town had even come close to, to not be afraid, to go to a film and television production school. Instead I had fallen in love with words. I wanted to become a writer.

The end.


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