Saturday, January 10, 2009

8.2 Recalling the Madwoman

What am I? Who am I?
“You are the thing that rattles around us. That frightens us and coaxes us. You are the lullaby, the rage, the jubilee, and the groan.”
Don’t you want to meet me?
Open the door.

I haven’t written the rest of that story. For years, I have dwelt on the threshold outside the attic door and tried to imagine what I would meet inside. Sometimes she is singular and holy beyond comprehension. Sometimes she has multiple forms and I am welcomed among them. But I have never opened the door.

Maybe the attic is empty and the Madwoman already makes her way through the house. She won’t be found in the tiny room at the top of the stairs. She is known in the lint of the laundry room, in the circles of women, in the lonesome climb in the dark, and even in the preachers droning on. She isn’t up and away (not always). She is also down and among. The Madwoman is in the many interpretations of the lullaby, the rage, the jubilee, and the groan but the only way for me to hear them is to leave the attic and rejoin the people in the levels below. It seems I climbed all the way up here just to find my way back down.

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