swann and rose, bath scene
The bird outside the bakery said pleeuoopishi powooplatwapishi eheheheehhehhhehhhehhh...............waking Swann, opening her stone dry eyes.
Swann's parents were part of the world's rivers opera tour. Swann received a telegram announcing their company would be coming up the Mississippi that week to do the opera Salome. They could see their daughter for dinner the night before the show but the riverboat would be leaving right after their performance.
The riverboat arrived a little late. It was a ship the size of a neighborhood block with little blue lights running along and defining every edge. Swann brought Rose with her to see her parents. In the boat's dining room everyone was eating Teriyaki Salmon, baby greens and pesto salad, burdock, carrots and sweet potato, coconut curry. Dessert was described as labia-like layers of crepes with chunks of cool watermelon ice under hot banana ginger sauce, drizzled with caramel.
Swann's dad was moody and opaque, only able to reveal his feelings through his singing. Her mother got giddy on champagne. Swann's parents got into a fight by dessert. Mom said "My life is a vacation." Dad said" You're on vacation from life. A life sentence, a life on permanent vacation. " Mom said" Shut up. Enough. " Swann said" This is what I learned from my parents. Mom taught me that it's interesting to make a presentation in the face of chaos like a neat front yard, with finely clipped hedges and green grass. Dad initiated me to see the beauty in the craggly tree, the chaos of things like a messy garage, and that anything ugly has beauty. "
Her parents didn't know that Rose was Swann's lover. Rose was enjoying the visit until she noticed Swann was wearing her turquoise earring. Rose's eyes bugged out like a cartoon character, then said "Oh I remember I left something cooking in my oven. Swann. I have to go. Nice meeting you Thankyou for dinner. " Dad said "Can't you stay for tea?" Mom said, "She has to go! "
On the next night, Rose and Swann saw her parents in the opera Salome. Lucinda Childs choreographed the dance where for half an hour, Salome danced, rolled and lay around the stage, making love to the supposedly decapitated head of St. John the Baptist.
Late Sunday night, on Swann's favorite TV show about a seven hundred year old vampire turned murder detective, was a murderer's cellar with jars full of cut off body parts, including a decapitated head.
The next morning, Swann dreamt Rose's head was cut off and put on someone else's headless body. The head was still alive, and she was transporting Rose to a hospital. It was attached by a few arteries. Swann was talking to her as their friend, the marktwaincave tourguide jogged by on his way to being an outerspace scientist and looked in the car . What he saw was Swann trying hard to make sure Rose's head didn't fall off in the back seat.
Back awake and watching TV, on the Simpsons that night, Bart had a nightmare that he was a grown up child star appearing on a futuristic version of the Hollywood Squares game show with other aging stars including the live head of Kitty Carlisle in a glass jar.
Turning off the television, Swann picked up and randomly opened Patricia Highsmith's book Ripley Under Water to pg 247 and read "The head's missing......" "Missing?" ,"It probably rolled off, don't you think?" Swann checked the next page to make sure it was not a car part that rolled off. It was definitely a human head.
The next night, a Tuesday, Jane showed her a video of Alice in Wonderland. The queen keeps yelling "Off with their heads" and a big scissors cuts off the court card's heads.
Swann thought: What is the meaning of this? Whatever scares you, finds you. Keep my head, avoid a heart/mind split. Or all the guilt is in your head, in which case, it might be valuable to lose your head.
Meanwhile, in Manhattan, aunt violet walks down sixth avenue with the song Here comes Peter Cotton Tail winging around in her head. Not insidiously every word but Peter Cot.......... keeps cycling up through her mind. Peter Caught in tail........... Pete...................Peter Caution tale...........cottin through the cotton trail. The nighttime sky was partly cloudy with a low hung three quarter moon gaping out between long clouds . The moon that made it a luminous muddy paint fleshtone implying a large eye. When Violet arrived in her apartment, she saw on her wall the big beautiful eye from a Hindu painting of Saraswati. The eye watched her as she lay down exhausted in her bed, kicking off her pennyloafers and her suit and left on her white lace edged slip. She somehow liked the eye. It was warm and seemed to emit a blue light. She saw its lid shut as she shut her own lids to sleep.