#9: Maw

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Ava splashed water on the irises, pausing to resonate on their vulgarity.  She always thought they looked like an dangerous fantasy creature like a dragon hiding its maw as it slurps down defenseless prey or maybe a colorful version of that poison-spitting dinosaur in the movie, Jurassic Park.  If it were a dragon, you can see its internal fire burning through the gill-like openings around its neck.  Ava identified with the defenseless prey.  She sat down with an exasperated sigh, still aiming the hose at the haphazard garden her rented house came with.

Her mind focused on her looming problem.  She felt she was beginning to drown in credit card debt – from paying bills and buying food.  She got a grant and went to school so she would have a decent, honorable job.  Where did she go wrong?  She was stuck – being buried in this small town where her annual rent increased more than her annual raise.  So did her health insurance.  She was twice as far off from balancing her checkbook as she was last year.   However, she was in the cheapest place she could find.  The rent was even cheaper than those tiny, run-down apartments on the edge of town.  The neighbor told her once that it was so cheap because nobody lived there longer than a few months.  They just up and disappeared.  His wife yelled at him, “Whatchoo tryn’a scare that young thing, for?  Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that house other than the scum of this town!”  Either way, living on her own was too much for her teacher’s salary.  That’s why she was heading to her part time job she worked over the weekend… a 35 hour shift as a CNA… after she watered the flowers.  Ava couldn’t stand to see wilted flowers – especially in front of her own home.

How did I become the lost sibling?  I thought the baby was supposed to be the spoiled one.

Ava’s brother wandered off to college when he was 18, shortly after their dad went out and never came back.  Darla, her sister chased after him, promising, “I’ll come back for you,” before running off into the night.  Ava was 7.  Bernard is out in California making movies and living a Hollywood life, without recognition he has a baby sister.  Darla got lost on the way to finding her brother.  She met a drug dealer pimp who helped her get her GED and fund college.  She was a lawyer by 23.  She married her pimp, who managed to become a doctor of some sort.  They live in a penthouse suite in Chicago with a beautiful view.  Ava knows because Darla posts pictures and updates about their busy lives on Facebook. They’re the type of people Lifetime makes movies about.  Ava has seen her sister twice in the last 20 years.

She’s still as perplexed as a high school Intro to Physics student trying to understand Quantum Theory.  She thought she was doing everything right.  Now she’s stuck in town so tiny the next town over has never heard of it.  She’s being buried alive under credit card bills.  She can’t quit her teaching job because then there’d be nowhere to live, no way to eat, and no way to pay her debt.  She can’t go back to school because they won’t give her loans for a new bachelor’s degree.  She already knows further education in this career path will lead her into nothing more than a deep sea of debt.  She already works two jobs and can’t afford to pay the bills and eat, which means there’s no way she can pay for classes herself.

She dreams she were small enough to blow away in the wind to a place where she can dance on petals of flowers.  Ava drifts into a dream-like daze.  Tiny creatures adore her, welcoming this strange individual into their homes as a guest.  Nature is much more welcoming toward “different” than humans.

While Ava is comfortable and distant – lost in a world within her own mind, the iris opens it’s petals, sticks out it’s tongue and scoops her down its maw.

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