22 January 1957 – The Closet
(She is trying to fall asleep. This when she begins to get her dreams back.)
All through her growing years – Lydia had an uneasy, sometimes panicky feeling if a closet door was ajar, especially at night.
One day she happened to think of a bubble pipe she played with for hours as a child. Her impression of pleasure in the bubble pipe seemed to fix itself into a single picture – a bubble pipe hanging stationary in the air with a stream of unhappy connected bubbles brimming over and spilling down the bowl the pipe.
She kept seeing the rather dreary bubble pipe for a while. Then in a moment, the words of the song she had not heard in years occurred to her. She was puzzled and wondered what made her think of it. Slowly she began humming the words of the song quietly to herself.
“I’m forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air, they fly so high nearly reach the sky – then like my dreams they faded and died. Fortunes always hiding, I’ve looked everywhere. I’m forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air.”
“Why I remember every word!” She thought to herself. “Now what made me think of that song?” Her mind hesitated over the question.
A slight panicky feeling ripped her. All she could imagine was an open closet door, shades of many a night’s dream. She began to get frightened. There seem to be a dark figure emerging from the closet. It had a black cloak over its shoulders, but in the dim darkness there appeared to be some decoration of beautiful colors, deep glowing yellows, orange, burnished gold etc. Her growing panic subsided, and curiosity enveloped her.
What was all this closet stuff lurking, always lurking as she made beds and cleaned the upstairs bedrooms?
Very slowly and answer came to her. Yes! The closets! There were two of them in the house she lived in as a child, one smaller in a bedroom at the front of the house, another quite large one off a bedroom at the back of the house.
The secret of the closet began to unravel, scene after scene: Three brothers and her parents crowded into a small two-bedroom house left her no particular place for privacy.
Go on from here: She goes to the closet to play by herself. The years passed before her mind’s eye. The time she seemed to get into a “to do” about eggs for lunch. She evidently had been slighted in some way over her share of the eggs. Crying, she had left the table with her mother close behind. She ran for the front bedroom closet, sobbing wretchedly. Her mother attempting to console her. That was the first scene.
The others followed: Exploring the closet, first the floor and the shoes. Later, when taller, the pockets of the clothes being there. Her father’s coat pockets. Sometimes she found a handkerchief. Her mother’s dresses. The “Sunday” ones fascinated her. The dress felt sleek. The other ones were of rough fiber (various feelings of cloth to the touch). A medical book with pictures she found when she was seven or eight years old. This book proved a source of many absorbed hours in the closet studying the pictures. She was in school already and could read but the book was written in German. She played over her fairy book stories in the closet – the fairy princess.
The back-bedroom closet had a window in it. It was large and filled with daylight. This was the closet of her junior high school years. Behind the door were pencil marks she had made on the white plaster wall. The various degrees of pencil marks were obtained by holding a book or ruler on her head, cooking her arm and making the pencil mark at what she thought was the appropriate height.
Here where she looked for her shoes on the floor. Hurried in to find Jim suits for a while. It was her “private” world.
The back-bedroom closet was not quite so frightening. A pair of gym bloomers made history in it. Also, a story connected with menstruation. Also, a bathing suit story.
But, the little dark front closet – that was her deepest and most significant world. In that dark little closet, she had explored her world. The world of self, a treasured and hidden world. A world she had locked away from her mother and three brothers, a place where she could be alone.
As Lydia thought it all through she remembered many bits of this private child world. There were hopes, and dreams, and fairytale characters who kept her company through many hours. Little “plays” she enacted. Putting on mother’s shoes. Searching pockets at first. Then exploring the physical world of the medical book. Her mother seemed to think there was already something very bad about this world. But it was fascinating. As the few little childhood years lengthened, into early girlhood, she went over the Sunday afternoon movies for hours in her bedroom closet. Funny men throwing pies into each other’s faces. Beautifully dressed ladies all grown up talking with other ladies and men. Scenes from singing movies with flowers and castles.
It didn’t last long, this private clothes closet. The summer sunshine, bare feet and soft mud after a rain began to beckon. And bubble pipes. Life became more involved with school teachers and children and playgrounds. The private world of the closet gave way to other matters.
Life began to push and crowd until Lydia forgot the closet entirely – the land of childhood. All she had left of it was a feeling sometimes it doesn’t matter. Sometimes when life let her down, and she knew life’s demands had to be met, she became almost panicky about closet doors left open. Particularly at night when the house was still. All her hopes, dreams, little sorrows and possibilities, little feelings of guilt were locked in that private, close closet world.
It is when we are not sure of our values, our point of view, that opposites attract. We are attracted to the “opposite” to wrestle, learn, and try to resolve our differences – let the strongest viewpoint conquer. And conquer it will in the end if the truth we suspect is there, no matter how vehemently we fight it. Usually, opposites have something to learn from either end of the seesaw. Extreme opposites call for exquisite balance to achieve perfect balance. The less difference, the less pull and tug. Complete opposites really kick up a cloud of dust. A good deal of blood can then be shed.
“You got to live a little, take a little, and let your poor heart heartbreak a little. That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.”
And what is love but harmony, agreement, and balance?
Satire is accentuating the negative. “It’s easy to be a juvenile delinquent” grants permission, but still accentuates the negative.
I suppose you can also accentuate the positive when you want to give a negative result.
Ah! Algebra – I should have paid more attention. I should have learned. Tom used to say mathematical formulas could be applied to life feelings, questions and answers, not only in the material world but in the inner world of feelings and emotions.
That nauseous feeling – those cold tremors down my back here lately as my writing hopes begin cropping up. Was the nausea due to having enough false hopes? Those cold tremors – did . . . were they physical reactions which were symptomatic of all the pain which is been wound up in my desire for self-expression? I was afraid to submit myself to what I have known in the past to be the personification of punishment and frustration, utter helplessness? Who knows.
These little dizziness’s – trying to blackout any belief in a creator who had, I thoroughly believe, failed me so miserably, and a mother who did the same thing? When she never understood?