Brain is on fire. Reality. I’m sitting in my kitchen, staring out the window at the ducks. Vacant staring outwardly. I imagine myself to look like a mindless, drooling zombie. But, brain on fire. Where from ducks, do I get the name Mercedes? Why is a German luxury car, named after a Spanish women’s name?
Interior— A shoddy Bronx apartment
Unidentified man: Quick, get your stuff, let’s go, Milagros!
Little Girl: Nobody calls me Milagros. Call me Mili.
Man: Your mother named you Milagros, so that’s what I’ll call you.”
Girl: That’s dumb. Why did she name me Milagros?
Man: She named you after the car—Milagros. The guy who created the car loved this woman, name Milagros, she was very beautiful and very smart, but she died young. She was the only woman he ever loved. So, when he made this car, he spared no expense, and every detail was an homage to her.
Girl: (wide eyed and happy) Is this true?
Man: nope, you were named Milagros, because your whore mother’s uterus was so destroyed, it’s a miracle you’re here. Now, hurry up! I don’t have all day.
Two incredibly large and beautiful Mallards. I can see from the window, some good yards off, the brilliant, dark, shiny, green on the male. I haven’t seen these two before. They must’ve caught the redeye, last night.
Flashback: A man, sitting on a large rattan high backed chair, wearing impeccable off white summer clothes. He is explaining to his sister’s nephew by marriage, why he has to send him and not his son to get his granddaughter from New York. Pan out and see large adobe stucco interior, with airy light, lots of windows with gauzy curtains and arched doorways, leading to other large airy rooms and vast outdoor gardens. And large expansive sky.
Forward to present:
The apartment, is cramped and small, with dingy walls and bad lighting. An abundance of laundry in baskets and clutter on dressers, tables, chairs.
Girl: (all of a sudden she has pigtails and is with a huge, round, rainbow colored all day sucker lollipop.)
I realize I’ve forgotten to turn the coffee on. Just press the button. Wait. Longer…
A glimpse—girl is sent to French boarding school.
2nd Glimpse—girl returns from boarding school, older but not finished with her studies. She is going to be homeschooled.
Exterior—outside the compound we see infiltrators—its not clear whether it’s rivals or feds. Shots ring out, bedlam ensues—lots of action/fighting/one on one fighting/mayhem
Interior: Girl is oblivious, consumed by her studies. Through the closed veil of the curtains we can see the fighting only through the veil it looks like a tango in slow motion, performed by a dance ensemble.
Coffee is ready. That was fast. It’s a Keurig.
Somebody has entered the sanctuary. They have girl by the arm. She is bleeding. She breaks away. A gun shot is heard and white bird flies out of window into a vast expanse of sky.
Flashback: Grandfather telling girl, if she’s ever to face danger, she’s to transform into this big magnificent white bird and fly away. She will have this ability as long as she never looks down.
Girl as bird takes one last quick sweeping look, and croaks and falls, riddled with bullets, she’s transformed into a raven.
One sip of my coffee and the reverie is over. And I’m left with questions.
- What was the reason for writing her as a Mexican? Why couldn’t she have been Black or Jewish or Norwegian. No reason. But, I think it accommodates, the significance of the birds. I saw her afterwards as she got older as being Mexican to accommodate a possible Indian/Aztec heritage/folklore with the significance of space and birds. I thought about the movie Sidewalls, where the opening narrative, discusses the architecture of Buenos Aires. How it’s oddly mismatched and the city faces away from the water, and how this oddity impacts the people. How everything from alcoholism, to loneliness, to neurosis, to whatever ails you can be attributed to the architecture.
- What is the significance of having her transform into a bird? And what do the colors, black or white, have to do with it? Stereotypical, and I find myself guilty of resorting to standard fare. White is free and good, Black is death. So, I go back. And resurrect.
Flashback redux: Grandfather telling girl, if she’s ever to face danger, she’s to transform into this big magnificent blackbird and fly away. She will have this ability as long as she never looks down.
Girl as bird, takes one last quick sweeping look, and croaks and falls, riddled with bullets, she’s transformed into a white bird, perhaps a dove or an egret. The man who brought her from New York, rushes in, only too late. He cries. He’s been in love with her since she came back from boarding school.
2nd cup of coffee brings this —>> What is the significance of those that inform the girl, missing from the story? Why the anger, the death, why the sarcasm as seen in discussing why the name? Without going into details, I find this story has been strongly impacted by my personal situation, in that I’m thinking of change, freedom, death, historical lore etc…How much of being effected by the inevitable and upcoming death of a family member informs this story?
One last thought. As I upload this. I remember something else. The line where the girl asks, “is this true?” is/was a running joke, I had with a dear friend. We’d tell each other the most outlandish things, and the other one would ask, incredulously, “Is this true?” It would never fail to crack us up. He is very recently deceased. When I was having this morning, pre-coffee reverie, it had not dawned on me. I suppose I’m in mourning for what was and what will be. It’s not easy.