How it happened…
Over a year ago I tweeted the following:
Days later I posted the first two-word entry. Naturally, I made haste to write the second part as soon as I could. Here it is, over a year later.
The second volunteer, famous Bard to Giantesses and professional raconteur Aborigen, offered the following two words. There are two remaining sets of words that will form a total of four I’ve pompously decided to call Two Words (a game) – The Twitter Edition! fireworks
Perdita traveled to Vermont every month to oversee the construction progress of her dollhouse and deliver materials for it she procured on her own. It had been a year since she first started having dreams that soon became nightmares. Only when she heeded them as instructions, the bad dreams stopped and became messages. From whom, she didn’t know; all she knew is that she started receiving them the moment she began searching for a good dollhouse maker, and contracted one in Vermont to build the dollhouse of her dreams.
As she handed the man sandalwood logs she had gotten from an Internet stranger she met for coffee and barter (she gave him one of her chicken in exchange), she knew the craftsman thought she was mad. She could see it in his eyes. She almost suggested he keep his glaring to himself, after the fortune she was paying him. The house had to be right; it had to be perfect.
“Yes, sandalwood shingles; you heard me right.”
“But that’s going to cause another delay! The special hinges you wanted for the windows, and the iron balustrades for the balcony and the stairs-”
“I don’t care. It has to be sandalwood… it has to be on the outside so the fragrance doesn’t overpower him…”
“I beg your pardon?” he spat, and she realized she had been talking to herself.
“Never mind. Do as I ask, please. I’d like to see the house now if you don’t mind.” She saw that he thought about it for a moment, thought about sending her—and her crazy requests—away, but there must have been something in her eyes, something that told him she was capable of anything, because he took her to the back, a long way past the workshop and different varnishing and woodworking rooms, out the back door and past a well-kept backyard where the dollhouse maker’s wife was cutting flowers.
She ignored her surprised nod and meaningful look between the two of them, and followed him to the barn, where all nearly finished products were curing. She also ignored all the beautiful homes that were ready for delivery, a large one being carefully packed in several boxes by shop workers, until they reached the worktable where his home stood. Her toy.
His home, she thought; the home of someone impossible, someone not real. I hope you’re happy, little man, because your home is almost ready. Then it will sit empty in my room, on the floor; a constant reminder of the thousands of dollars I spent because I had a couple of nightmares. She stood still, mesmerized by the beauty of the tiny home, perfect in every way. Twenty-four inches to every side, with an adorable porch where she would place a wooden bench and table, perfect for reading a book while drinking lemonade… if one measured a few inches in height. She bent low, which earned her a warning from the dollhouse maker.
“Please don’t touch anything yet. There are certain applications that are still drying.”
Perdita didn’t want to touch it. She thought reaching for it might break the spell, though as to who might have cast it, there was no answer. Her heart pounded when she saw the glimmer of light reflected in the beautiful mahogany floorboards. She sighed when she peered past the balcony doors and saw the tiny master bedroom, though she was never going to call it that. It would always be the toy room. His room. She almost giggled at her own madness as she continued the tour with her eyes and wondered what they might look like from the other side, the tiny side. Huge brown orbs spanning the entire home, from top to bottom in one glance; moving pupils darkening with interest; eyelids creasing at the corners if her lips smiled somewhere out of sight, beyond that sturdy exterior wall.
I need to be able to sit on it, she had explained. The master craftsman had been so insulted his face had turned red. My creations are not stools, Ms. Cordovan, he had hissed. She almost picked up the dollhouse to bring it down on his head, but she contained her anger and repeated the details of her request, as she politely thought of it. She knew it was a demand. She knew if he didn’t comply and do as she wanted, the spell, the goddamned “magic” would dissipate. There was no way she was ever going to allow that to happen. Not if she had to kidnap his wife, or him, or hold them both at gunpoint. So special reinforcements were made, and the house was sturdy enough to sustain sitting on it.
My life is a euphemism, thought Perdita with a sigh as she straightened up and followed the dollhouse maker back to the front office. A conjunction of actions I’ve decided will somehow alleviate my situation. I’m making toys when I should be making friends. I’m building a toy home when I should be thinking of a real one. I’ve bought furniture that fits in the palm of my hand when I’ve had the same old couch for years. A couch my ex-boyfriend’s father gave me while offering to “break it in” with me. And it’s orange. But no, here I am, spending a hundred and fifty dollars on a small living room set made by self-designated witches in Belarus. How extraordinary.
But that night, in the cheap hotel room she’d leave in the morning, and after all those months, she had a dream. She was in her own bed, a euphemism for a mattress on a rusty frame, and a deep voice was calling her name with a whisper, and a warm hand was caressing and flicking her earlobe as it told her his name. She woke up with his dirty words still in her mind and looked to the side to see if there was anyone in bed with her. The hand had been the size of a seed.
There were no more dreams of him as she waited the right number of weeks for her toy to be ready for shipment. She took the day off work to wait for its arrival and refused to allow the delivery man to stack the boxes together to bring them to her doorstep. Instead, she helped him carry each, one by one, and deposit them gently on her porch. She thanked him and he ignored her with a furrowed brow as he drove away. Alone, she brought the boxes into the living room and opened them with relish. Each part had been packed carefully and was in perfect condition. The rest of the day was spent assembling together each floor of the toy home until the slanted roof was in place. She was vacuuming each tiny room with miniature cleaner attachments when she realized what she had to do.
Every night after work, Perdita rushed home and unpacked one piece of furniture at a time. Each piece was given a very unique baptism between her legs, the kind that didn’t stop until that piece was fully coated. She didn’t dare skip a single piece because the impulse to do what she was doing had felt like a final message. By the end of the week, she was sore but extremely relaxed. Every room was decorated. The kitchen had a working fridge and a stove, and the bathroom had a tub and sink that worked and running water from a tank in the attic she had filled once everything was in place.
That night she stood over the beautiful toy and grinned from ear to ear. She knelt low and looked through the windows once more. Very carefully, she inserted her hand through the front door and flicked on the porch light, displacing the porch table and chair that sat empty. Once she rearranged them, she opened the hinged roof, checked to make sure the tilted tank was not leaking and turned on the light in his bedroom. She brought her face very close to his bed, as close as she could fit it over the room’s walls, and whispered his name.
In the morning she opened her eyes, flung her legs over the side of the bed, and walked back to the small house. She dropped down to her knees as gently as she could, and peeked through the window. In the tiny bed, there was a male form. His brown-haired head shifted ever so slightly, and his chest rose and dipped with every small breath he took. She had to cover her mouth to muffle her cry of joy, and only spoke when she could whisper his name again. When she did, he woke up.