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The Ball. Part 1.
To ask or not to ask. She contemplates his answer. His reply will determine her future. Or not.
20 year old short fiction junkie. Eats, shoots, and lives fiction. Existentially worded.
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The Ball. Part 1.
She dreams of her Prince Charming. He is tall, imposing, and speaks Phenomenology. Otherwise, English, French, and German. She likes it when he rounds her up with his suave, penetrating gaze. When their eyes meet across the room, he is dark and soulful while she bats her lids away. She wants to dance with him; she doesn¡¯t want to dance with him.
The ballroom orchestra is playing, the cello is chiming; the xylophone is rhyming. The bass churns; her heart churns with it.
She doesn¡¯t know if he will go, if he will come pick her up in his little red chariot. Red like the Communists, red like her passion. She doesn¡¯t know if he really likes the colour red. But she does. She simply adores it. It is the colour of courage and of steely valour, she says when asked. Which means bravery. To go up to him and ask, do you want to come with me to the ball?
Do you want to come? She asks. He ponders. He thinks. He is poised like the Thinker, the Sculpture.
Will he say yes? Will he say no? If he says yes, should she also go? What if he says yes, but he means someone else? What if he says no, but it¡¯s her he wants to hold.
The bells echo my rhythmic heartbeat. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. Or like he is still doing on that artist¡¯s stool. Think. Think. Think.
He takes forever. She is thinking of replies. Beautiful as Proust. Disappointing as snowless winter. Where Christmas is empty as stockings overlooked by Santa. Maybe we didn¡¯t offer him enough milk to go with the cookies. Maybe he had business to do elsewhere. Maybe his reindeer was stuck in a jam. Maybe he finally realised that elves are pretty after too much eggnog. St. Nicholas finally finding his own true love.
Anyway, she looks back at him. His ears are cocked alert like an elf¡¯s. The way he always does when discussing Descartes. When they plundered Plato. And throttled Aristotle. Was their relationship purely Plato-nic? Platonic. Or was there more to what met the eye? And might it end in this dance. This was not something you could dissect objectively, like dissecting epistemology. You had to take sides. You could not argue about knowledge objectivity. The knowledge itself would be enough to make or break her.
Violins tremor like her heartstring pulled. Fingers tapping away at the keyboard like a maestro on his concerto piano.
He thinks. He thinks some more. As if facing an arduous examination. Come on, her heart pleads. You¡¯ve never taken this long to crush any argument. Yes, this Marxist fish needs a bicycle. Rather cycle than drive to work. You ride and I¡¯ll be your Eos. Drip our dew drops together and grow our own little flowers. Give life to the world like you give life to me.
If this were indeed an examination, she¡¯d have failed him long ago. After he¡¯d failed her by taking so long. Quick, come on and battle the toughest question.
Cymbals clash. The war is beginning. Am I going to be victorious? A sharp yodel pierces the air. The war cry sounds.
She resigns from knowing. She leaves him to his thoughts. She is brave enough for Foucault, but not for the revelation. She puts her beetle-eyed glasses back on, the brand which will make her unattractive to any man. She¡¯ll rip in half that petticoat, that lacy bodice.
There is no Part II because she doesn¡¯t want to know any more.
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© 2005 Rachel Chan
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