I grew up in a secluded neighbourhood, thinly separated from a highway by a dank-green coloured wall made of something that could have been paper, it looked like I could touch it and it would fall over, I could hear the cars. I’d keep my window open just to hear them.
Sometime after my mother healed from her mental illness kick (her final mental illness kick) my father agreed to a security system that would remain engaged when we were home. I guess he decided that her passed “paranoia” was grounded by medication and therefore fine.
I could no longer open my window.
Your imagination feeds on two desperate feelings: Stuck and Lost.
I have an urge tonight to re-tell a story from the Old Testament. I learned this story in Hebrew school, over twenty years ago. I do not remember names or details. I do not remember the story’s facts.
I’m going to make a lot of it up.
If you get stuck and feel lost, you’re welcome.
Bat Sheba has a baby. She decides that she cannot raise the baby to be the man she imagines he should be.
What stimulates her imagination into believing that she is not good enough for her own baby?
I don’t know.
This is Egypt. Hundreds of hundreds of years ago. Before calendars. Before mirrors. Before relativity.
This is a small word, this woman is a small woman, she has no sense of size, she can’t imagine, she has no business imagining the potential of her baby.
Stuck, lost and standing by the bullrushes, she sees the Pharoah’s daughter.
How does she know who this woman is? She read about her in the newspaper. She saw her face on the Television. She just watched a documentary about her and now all she can think about is how much she wishes, she lies in bed and listens to the highway and desperately tries not to wish, that she could be this woman, bathing by the bullrushes, singing, smiling, hair perfectly curled, framing her face, dipping into her tit-crack, she is a stupid version of life, standing in the water, waiting for something complicated to happen to her.
Bat Sheba, and that might not even be her name, puts her baby in a basket and floats the baby into the water.
She watches, hidden, as the Pharoah’s daughter collects the basket, picks up the baby and wonders about time, space, situations, how are her feet not dirty if she’s standing in the dirt, how is her hair not wet if she keeps patting her head with wet hands, how are her eyes still brown after all the hours she’s spent staring into the Blue Nile.
Staring at the baby, the Pharoah’s daughter knows she’s stuck. Lost for maternal instincts, she screams.
Bat Sheba lies in the dirt and babbles to the wind. Nothing could be simpler, she knows, now that she is nobody and nothing and dirty and found.
Stay safe and stay lonely but remember to consider how desperate you are. Desperation tells great stories. Goodnight.