Little Elaina Lee was gifted a feather duster for her 8th birthday by a neighbor named Rosa. Soul connections have little to do with age and much to do with which celestial cell snuck its way into your planetary placenta; all as a way to say that, yes, an 80-year-old woman from Cuba can have a deep, reciprocal love for a weird 8-year old from Kansas.
Since the age of 3, Elaina Lee had been enamored with Rosa. The two met while Rosa was on her knees in a hunch over a rose bush her husband had planted three years after their marriage and 33 years before his death. The toddler wandered across their shared yard and began to caress Rosa’s back. To a three-year-old, the old woman appeared a dinosaur hiding its shy head.
We touch the elderly so rarely that they could be holograms without our knowing.
But Elaina Lee knew that Rosa was substance, and substantial.
Rosa knew that Elaina Lee would treasure the eruption of feathers from the white wand handle. And she did.
The feather duster, which was originally the shade of just-before-sunrise, dirtied to a stormy blush because it went everywhere with Elaina Lee. Her mother wasn’t worried that her daughter carried around a tool for housecleaning. As long as the 10-year-old down the street continued to carry around that sloshy jar of pickles, Elaina Lee could get away with anything.
Now Elaina (she dropped the Lee) was 24, and the feather duster was again pristine. Twice a year, the duster underwent a meticulous cleaning. It was a ritual that Elaina relied on to maintain a sense of connection to her childhood mentality of believing.
“Your duster is a stand-in for love. But I guess at least you keep it clean.” Janet poked her best friend in the belly as they passed by each other in the narrow throat of their humid kitchen. Fun can be poked physically as well as verbally.
“Fuck off. At least it’s not a dildo. At least I can take the feather duster out with me.” They both cackled, their laughs getting lost in the steam of feather-baths and all-day-lentils.
The names of Elaina’s romantic crushes were bestowed upon the feather duster. This week it was Gregory. She hated that name as it reminded her of Kafka’s Gregor and her Metamorphosis confusion. But she adored Gregory. So, she hid away in her room after wishing Janet “adieu.” Elaina’s lamps were covered with silk scarves that she’d thrifted to give her room the feel of a transparent womb. She lay back and let Gregory take over. His feathers shivered in her exhale and tickled the descent of her neck. Her hair follicles hardened into mountainous goose flesh, and she imagined her skin covered in erections. The softness of Gregory’s fringed plumage rivaled the hardness of his quills and all that was left of him was a tuft of pink fluff blooming from the vee of migrating geese between her knees.
What a wonderful, surreal, fantastical, uplifting piece
500 words or not you always have my attention.