Friday, June 13, 2008
You See Things in the Darkness
Hi, Readers! Here's another installment from Second Day Reported, suitable for this Friday the thirteenth. Thanks for reading.
In the fifth grade, I begged my mother to buy me Flowers in the Attic. The cover piqued my interest -- a blonde-haired girl's face peeking though a glossy black cover. On the back, the blurbs said, Such wonderful children! Such a beautiful mother. Such a lovely house. Such endless terror! The book's bizarre premise went something like this -- the monster is the oldest daughter in a family of four children. When her father dies, the mother has to return to her rich parents to live. The children must be locked away in the attic so that the mother can find another husband. Madness ensues and the two oldest siblings begin a consensual incestuous affair that continues through their adult life, three sequels in all.
When mother caved in, I read the book over and over, sympathetic and enchanted by the whole claustrophobic world. In the novel, the kids cut out different construction paper flowers to indicate the changing of the seasons. Even in the most suffocating of worlds things changed. Years later I would learn that V.C. Andrews had been confined to a wheelchair for much of her life because of injuries related to a fall down some stairs in her twenties. She lived with her mother all her life. Though she rarely granted interviews, she did tell people that she always knew she'd be crippled as an adult because as a child she'd seen her reflection with a pair of crutches. She'd write at night in front of a mirror to harness her psychic energy. You see things in the darkness, she said. The narrator leaves no boundary intact. In this world, much like the real one, anything goes.
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday the 13th! Rest in Peace, Tim Russert.