The meticulous home of a spider stretches perfectly across the corner. Cautiously coinciding walls make for a perfect line to hold her octagonal vision. A home is a complex matter, a duality. Both a trap and refuge at once. An ambush and a fortress. Each road leads to the centre where she patiently waits. I arrive there after a tiring flight. She marvels at my small arms. Comes closer. An etching on her side grabs my attention. It reads 'On the table...'. Her skin is a brown I have never seen before. A glistening auburn. Dangerous. Furry. She comes closer, leans to my ear. She whispers. "Good," she says. "Good job!" She turns to her side for me to continue the sentence; 'On the table are great-grandmothers and grand-children.’
I say "Time!"
She looks at me with all eight eyes. The two large ones in the centre are surprised, and the six on the side are welcoming. They expect me to move while the large two expect me to stand still.
"The answer to your riddle is time. The table is time,"
Both her expressions leave for worry.
A broken worry, like shattered glass that holds still.
I am nervous and scared. Not of her but terrorised by something internal, terrorised by the possibility that I am her interiority, her expression, her frustrated energy condensed and calcified as a thing of flesh.
Every home is an ancient cave where wet rocks of white and brown merge with dry ceilings that feed into the shiny surfaces one drop at a time. Rocks slowly drown water into themselves. The cave eats itself to rearrange its interiority. It ingests the earth to make it, an act of cannibalism. That's how the interiority of a home makes the outside. It endangers itself to claim the act of protection. It shimmers at a distance. At night we only survive through the strength of candelabras and chandeliers.
When dark there is no more inside.
My sweaty forehead drips into her web, almost exactly like a cistern leaking to the cave floor. A part of me leaves my body for her. I feel a bit of shame and feel better once I remember it is raining outside. What is a drop on a rainy night?
"What is a drop?" she asks. I explain that it is a very small amount of liquid, and like every very small thing it is round-shaped. "But not quite, you see. There is always time to a shape. Time inverts the round to an inverted comma.
That's why we stop at commas. So time can invert the round."
She asks me what a comma is.
She worriedly asks me another question.
Comma. Comma. Comma. Macommacommacomm. "Are you okay sweetheart?" She sounds worried. Clumsily, she switches from worry to certainty as a mother would. She is telling me it is going to be just fine. That there is nothing to fear. These are reassuring words every mother mutters in dark times.
Dryness is a luxury.
It is at about eleven o'clock.
The rainy night is calling us to give in to the sound. The cold sound leaking through the window sticks to my warm ears like freshly mowed grass sticking to sweaty thighs on a summer picnic. Sleep grows ever so shortly with each second. Each second drips into the regret of the morning. My own roused voice wakes me up from the night. Night is like a compass you don't want to use. A command. My mind, a golden scale, mesmerised by the giant need to find back balance, is dipping its spherical hands in and out of water. Beating it and beating me. The colour palette of the bedroom is faded jewel tones of desires of a young married couple who were younger than I am. The rain accompanies the sound of the television. A ticking sound chases many-coloured triangles: the mothers, the sons, and the holy spirits. Maybe a wheel of fortune is spinning. Across the wheel of fortune, a woman like a goddess guarding a wall of light. A piece of music in each box that she magically touches. One note. In these family nights, every night, we feel blessed for our fortune for a second.
But in the next, we remember something awful. She is wearing silvery-white. The goddess, she has powers but not quite abundantly. Unaware of her powers, she walks an invisible path between the two corners, ever so gently touching a light square. At the end of each stroll, cautiously coinciding walls make for a perfect line to hold her posture. I remember these corners from before. She looks at me.
She whispers, "The word starts with the letter M."
Where is my dream? Perhaps in a drawer.
It is under the pillow, and I am on top of it.
The dream is fading. Withdrawing tides very slowly reveal a bundle of moss, shimmery wet, rootless brown. The dream as it is vanishing, jewels reality, marries it. A chimaera is waiting across the television in preparation for endless war. It is composed of a lion, a snake, an eagle, in the shape of a whale. It speaks a language none of its parts could understand. A heroic creature in its tragedy. Outside of it, just a toy. The golden scale dipped in a pond of reality is waving at me from above. A woman's hand, a golden scale. Her hand is combing my hair back from my sweaty forehead. Has it startled her to hear prophetic questions from a young child?
"Why am I so small?”
I have not yet moved.
"Why is the pillow so enormous?”
I am indistinguishable from the pillow in my head. My head is the pillow. My thoughts inhabit the wrinkles close to the edges. We meet to become whole towards the centre—an abandoned egg's fear of rolling towards the edge. The wheel stops for the room to take off. Not quite rotating, but a subtle movement in the room stretches the wrinkles only to direct them in the opposite direction.
A wrinkle in time makes us emerge.
I sink to the surface. Being invisible to myself makes me visible to others. Or other things. This glass with milk scars, and the window is wet on the other side.
This wall to wall carpet is, in its essence, a sense of security. Knowing it is covering every corner, I easily imagine the room as a whole, through the vision of the carpet, from its very being. To be the consciousness of a rock, of a nail. On this gargantuan bed, I feel like a fingernail on my fingers.
An inverted comma.
An iteration towards absence.
Nothing plus one.
The room is pushing me downwards.
Rose curtains. Lean nightstands, holding symmetrical night lamps, are demanding equality. But I am too small to counter the weight of my other. The pillow holding my head is the whole bed. A folding inwards. Towel sheets. The faint scent of jasmines.
A broken glass rolls behind the cabin, stops next a dead bumble bee.
I travel this house flying in my dreams, flying not like some glorious bird but as myself.
Laborious flight, ungainly and awkward. Slow and close to the ground, like the last flight of the bumble bee. To become a bee, you must enter the flower, to carry life and death, to contaminate, to be sticky, to buzz, to yield, to be busy, to be crowded in oneself, to worship, and to die. To become a bee, you have to assume a body. To assume a body, you have to fit in a cup, spill, dissolve, saturate, and crystallise back into existence, even only for a moment, even if only imagined.
Wheel of Fortune is part of an extensive body of work under the working title, For the time being, Moby Dick. The text constitutes the Chapter H of a novel, bearing the same working title and with no ambition of ever being finished.
A first version of Wheel of Fortune was commissioned by Maike Hemmers as part of a publication by Sarmad Magazine on the occasion of Fictioning Comfort programmed by WORKNOT! for Showroom MAMA, Rotterdam.