Wednesday, September 5, 2007

p31

A young female panda puts on a cloche hat and climbs inside the armoire where she found it. She can hear her brother running in the hallway, opening every door. She feels excited. She has found the best hiding place. The young panda touches the hat in the darkness, imagining how beautiful she must look. If only there were a mirror, she thinks. She knows where one is, and is tempted to leave, but she also knows that if she leaves he will find her.

Little does she know that her brother has given up the game. He doesn’t want to play anymore; he just wants to go downstairs and make a veggie burger and then maybe go for a row around the misty lake with his two older siblings. The four panda children are staying with their uncle, who is never home. He leaves them notes on the table in the foyer, written in a language they don’t understand. They often wonder if the notes explain why they are pandas and he is not. Whenever they feel hungry they go to the kitchen and the refrigerator is mysteriously restocked with all their favorite foods.

At night they sit around in their Hello Kitty pajamas and wonder aloud how there could be a war going on if they never hear bombs or planes. They wonder if the war has ended. They wonder how they would know if it did.

Still in the armoire, the young panda doesn’t hear her brother’s footsteps anymore. She holds her breath. She closes her eyes. Then she feels something cold and wet on her cheek, something both foreign and familiar. Where could it have come from?, she wonders. She spins around inside the closet, looking for the exit, but gets caught in the trains of a hundred haute couture gowns and before she knows it all the walls vanish, the gowns turn into furs, the furs turn into trees with snow-laden boughs, and then she feels the flush of winter on her face as though she has just entered the most wonderful dream.

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