Oct 13, 2014, 09:01AM

Song of Sleeping Beauty

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She sits upright on the couch with her torso leaning over to the side. Her face is resting on the forearm of her gray cable-knit sweater. That arm rests on top of a brown pillow adorned with a dragonfly pattern. The heavy purple bags under her eyes provide dimension to her quiet face. Her eyelids are shut, accented by small creases that flicker out like the whiskers of a cat. The sliding slopes of her creamy cheeks twitch once in slumber.

With her white hair brushed across her forehead and her chest moving in slow, heavy breaths she could be a princess. She’s in an enchanted slumber—one which is narrated by Kelly Clarkson singing loudly on the radio, clicking taps of the receptionist’s keyboard, and the chirping of call lights ringing off the walls as caregivers hurry off toward the sound. There is a man sitting next to her who blows his nose in honking fury, retching up phlegm into a stained handkerchief. One of the honks crosses the line and the princess opens her eyes and blinks rapidly.

She tests the weight of her head by moving it slowly side to side. Her eyes are heavy with sleep. They flutter—once, twice, and finally shut. Her chin drops slowly down. A lock of hair falls across her face, stopping to rest in the shadows of her white eyebrows.

The pop star on the radio turns into an old friend singing at a party, the taps of the keys become high-heeled shoes tapping on a shiny dance floor, the chirping of call lights blend into plump canaries and lovebirds and parrots and cockatiels and toucans and pheasants and blue jays and crows and pigeons and sparrows and woodpeckers and owls and blue-birds-of-paradise and California condors. They swarm and fly and swoop to the sound of the snotty nose blowing that has morphed into 10,000 trombones.


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