Mar 4, 2009

So I took the train back to PA from NYC on Friday--I do love me the train, those hours of listening to music and staring out at all these mysterious towns and farms and forests passing by, wondering what mysterious and diabolical things people are up to there--and then spent Saturday in State College PUTTING UP FLYERS for my reading at B&N tonight, since I can't control a whole lot with this book at this stage but at least I can try to make the readings jam-packed with people and loveliness AND RED VELVET CUPCAKES. And Saturday night I played poker with a smashing group of people who got more and more annoyed with me the more I won, and I wanted to get home early but ended up staying out late late late cause I thought it would be downright UNCIVILIZED to cut out early with everyone's moolah and if I was in a Western, which I occasionally suspect I am, I could very well get shot for such an act.. And then Sunday I went to Ithaca with my mama and her two dogs, so they could get treated at the fancy animal clinic there, and I spent hours in a Best Western typing up bookly things, like THIS DELIGHTFUL PIECE OF GORGEOUSNESS, and of course watching the shocking and pure bull crapola finale of THE BACHELOR, and then got back to State College last night just in time to elegantly collapse.

So tonight is my first of three book readings for Godmother, and I forgot how hard it is to actually pick out bits from a book to read to an audience, since moments that immediately come to mind usually need some sort of context or build up to make them so good, and you need just some very lovely and strong and alluring stand-alone bits. But here is one I think will work, and I am GENEROUSLY SHARING IT WITH YOU.

She deserves this, I thought. Suddenly, I wanted, more than anything, for this girl to find relief. She had been made for him. I was a fairy. I could close my eyes, stretch out my wings, and be back by the lake within moments. The coach was ready, the horses stamping their feet furiously, anxious to fulfill the duty I’d conjured them for. The coachman sat with the reins in his hand. And Cinderella radiated pure light. She would be the most beautiful woman at the ball.

Everything was in its place.

I closed my eyes and breathed in. “It is time,” I said. I ignored the pain pounding through me. In a few more minutes, it would all be over.

I snapped my fingers and the coachman jumped to the ground and opened the carriage door. Inside, the velvet seats were as red as blood. I turned to Cinderella and watched the dying light on her face, her skin, the ice blue of her dress.

He would take one look at her and forget me.

“Come,” I said.

She did not move. My own emotions were too strong, too ferocious, for me to read what was happening inside her. Just go, I thought. Go! I forced myself to think of the fairy lake. The water that wrapped around me like a pair of arms. The way we never felt anything at all resembling longing, because our world was already perfect, so full it brimmed over. In moments, I would be there.

Cinderella still stood, and I saw she was shaking.

She reached up just as I was about to go to her. She ripped her hair out of the swept-up bun I had conjured for her. I watched, unmoving, as the rhinestones scattered down into the grass. Watched her kick off the glass slippers. They tipped over into the grass. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

“I am not going,” she said.