There walked the light into the mist. Intruding. A deep mustard shade—they put hatching babies under those. They glint every night in the nurse’s eyes. Behind her, a dark window. The windows are most silent and the nights always darker in a hospital. It is a night like this. It must be getting weaker, the streetlight under which I walked. The mist nestles around it. It looks like a phantom beehive. An old man’s beard. I walk into the violet color of the night that has dropped to the road. I am under it. I am above it. And if I turn my head back, there it will be again, the light being smothered. Am I a moth?
I am most certainly not. I am a curious girl and there are very busy men in front of me. These are the photographers. Sure they wear Paparazzi hats and raincoats, but they are not your regular ones. These are disciplined. They respect the night; they are the simple stars with twinkling flashlights. An elaborate machine, a pyramid. Each man with a camera covering his face. Anonymous. Inhuman. They face a cardboard door. One they put up at school annual days. I always wanted to go to an annual-day. Can I?
‘No. No women allowed.’
It is not an annual day. They have men inside the hall being not-men. Did you know that French used to have a grand carnival where they let out criminals and madmen and prostitutes. What does a carnival for men without their male society will look like? Nothing they would let me see.
I circle around. Waiting.
It begins. The photographers collapse. There is chaos. There are other people like me, circling around. I see my friend and she has to shout to make herself audible. How does it feel to be not behind your eyes? She makes me feel that way. Her hand is heavy on my neck. And the carnival inside is getting louder. There are all emotions present inside. Hysterical laughter, wailing, wrathful voices. But she must not let me see. There is blood inside. A pool of ketchup maybe, diluted with water. They are throwing it beyond the walls. It is flying in the air. She is saving me. Pushing me away. I want to fall it on me though. To wipe off the afternoon from me. It’s crashing. How can it crash? The spillage is heavy on our heads, as if from the sky. What are they doing? I scream.
‘They are enacting the womb’, someone says.
I stand in the night, no longer silent.
It is done.
There is only mirth inside the hall now. For the first time I can even see the barrier. They’ve dropped their curtains. They look like doctors after delivering a baby of a giant. There comes a man with blood dripping off like sweat, tailing under his hair. He is exceptionally charming. Awash. My friend knows him. They smile at each other in congratulations and stare at me. There are papers in his hand. He’s asking me for the toll. What toll I say?
I am proud of understanding most things in my life. This was certainly not one. My friend accuses me of something I can no longer hear.
How do they win?
I had to go. I had to go.
[Based on an actual dream]