Saturday, September 22, 2012

Down the Rabbit Hole

This is one of those nights when you wake up groggy and disoriented and everything seems so distant and faraway and you find that you’re in the midst of giants. Your entire head vibrates excruciatingly as their thunderous footsteps make contact with the ground, one after the other, and the nerves in your temples are throbbing so vigorously it’s a wonder they didn’t explode into a mess of blood and capillaries. The giants are all around you, talking and laughing and occasionally one steps over you delicately - but other than that they do not seem to notice you. You’re watching them with disinterest until one of them leans down and grabs your shoulders and shakes. Hard. 
 
“Alice,” the giantess shouts, “Alice, get up.” 

I blink once. Twice. And my eyes begin to focus on the face inches from mine, her eyes wide with – what, fear? – for that few seconds until it is apparent that I have not overdosed and am still very much alive, thank you very much. 

“Tara,” I croak, “water. Please.” I’m still lying pathetically on the floor – which pretty much explains the roomful of giants.  

“Jesus Christ, Alice, are you trying to kill yourself? How many goddamn pills did you do?” 

Tara licks her red, red lips, livid; and I say, “enough to go to Wonderland”. 

Wonderland, where all sorts of magnificent creatures – gryphons and unicorns and even mock turtles (which according to the Queen is what mock turtle soup is made from) dwell. I want to tell her that it was a place where animals talked, like in Narnia, and they sang rhymes and had the most outrageous croquet games. I want to tell her that there was a Queen of Hearts, who was pudgy and rather stout but oh, how she loved having people’s heads cut off. “Off with his head,” she would say, “off with his head” because she liked the way it sounded, “off with his head” because she can. 

I could stay there forever because they were all mad. Everyone was mad and no one cared that monsters live behind my blue irises and my teeth were stained with blood. The Duchess served me soup with too much pepper and put a baby in my arms who turned into a pig. I didn’t want a pig any more than I wanted a baby so I slaughtered it and made a pork pie. Everyone at the tea party enjoyed it and the Mad Hatter pulled me aside and told me it was the best he had ever tasted and he kissed me but his mouth was full of porcelain chips and they cut into my lips and my tongue. 

Only the unicorn saw me for what I am. “You’re a monster,” he said but he got into a fight with the lion over the White King’s crown and died with his flank torn into ribbons before he could warn the others.   

“I was in Wonderland,” I repeat.

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