Yule Tale 2017
Titania's Curious Other Life
‘It’s been this way for… I don’t remember…
Like I’ve just been born out of this… box?
It isn’t an actual box, of course. It’s a room.
A room in my mind.
Location regardless, I’m trapped in it.
Here I am trapped. In a room. In my mind.
It doesn’t matter how much those idiots say oh, get dressed up, go out - I can’t!
They can’t see that I’m trapped. Because it’s in my mind.
Not their minds, they don’t have any.
They are just tin, hollow tin.
They don’t even want to go out, they just wait for orders.
Being stupid makes them content, they are boxed up, lined up, they can’t see life should be anything else.’
Titania sighs. She has given her monologue to a row of cardboard angels, and gets blank smiles in return.
‘Not hiding. Trapped.’
It is hard for them to understand, she knows, but she wishes they would make more of an effort. They look at her as though she were a shy child hiding behind a sofa.
As though they are pretending to go along with the trapped story.
The room that no one else could see was small.
Not what she would have chosen, but you can’t chose when you are a prisoner.
She would have chosen something - not ostentatious, but beautiful, calm, rich in textures.
A green velvet chaise-lounge, a glass lamp, a warm soft blanket, bookshelves, a palm tree, perhaps a painting of the sea, the wild salt-scented sea, with foaming waves.
Not concrete. A scrap of carpet to sit on.
A bit of ivy growing through a corner chink, the only decoration.
And an empty box, like an echo of the room.
She can curl up in the box, pretend a bower. So she does.
Curled up, a little cramped, she sighs more, thinking of stars and seascapes.
Sleep drifts in, then she dreams: of darkly furred pines casting wolfish shadows, of flames dancing with woodsmoke, of the songs of wolves, waves bursting spray under a bulbous moon.
But on waking nothing has changed.
She climbs out of the box but cannot go anywhere, because of being trapped.
Though they would bring her invitations, nice ones, tied with ribbons, and they would say as though she could just go: buy yourself a nice dress, it will be fine!
She would like a dress, she thinks, it might be an antidote to this spartan existence.
If things could change.
What would change?
She stretches her legs. It is important to move. To be ready, should the door unlock.
On a whim, she looks back in the box.
Once she had found a small flower there, a sky-blue hopeful bloom.
In the box this time she sees a string of stars, glowing tiny stars knotted in twine!
She picks them up, holds them up. Stars!
As she holds them up it comes to her that she should decorate the ivy, that the stars would look even more beautiful placed in those glossy leaves; she twists them in, around the stray stem.
They are perfect, shining in the greenery.
Titania sits on the carpet scrap staring.
It doesn’t matter being trapped. Her eyes are full. Her heart is full.
How beautiful those stars are!
Under her the carpet turns moss green.
‘Things are changing.’
She says the words out loud without needing anyone to hear them.
She lies down, to watch the ivy slide and widen to a trunk, the stars spread along low branches; wind up and up to the evergreen tip.
Her plain clothes shiver into tulle and sequins.
Titania climbs the tree. Her limbs are stiff but the boughs are regular, the fir-leaf is earthy, fresh, energetic.
‘Come on Titania,’ she says, ‘this is it - up, up!’
Till she is at the top and sitting, jostling in with the largest star.
‘Oh my gosh,’ she says, ‘I have no idea how I will get down from this tree!’
From here she views the painting of the sea; how light softens in the glass lamp.