I can’t get the mermaid out of my head. Her stare bores into me every time I close my eyes.
Too many visions of the Hatter. What he was. Who he’s become.
I get it.
Wonderland needs a warrior. And Heaven help us, it’s me.
Reminds me of mam. I can’t help but think that this is somehow all her doing. Why tell me Wonderland doesn’t exist? What did she hope to gain? Would we even be here now if I hadn’t left, hadn’t stopped believing?
Wonderland’s existence was never in question. Mine was.
I believe it now. Muchly.
The tent floor was covered with straw and smelled of popcorn and candy and shit. Clowns were juggling and strong men were lifting. Must be Scotsmen, I thought to myself. The night was sticky and the cicadas competed with the calliope inside. A food passer in a red skirt with black diamonds on it walked around with a tray of elaborately decorated petit fours. Gregor took one and offered it in my direction.
“No thanks,” I said, “you know my track record with tiny cakes.” Not to be outdone, though. I made short work of the cotton candy, kettle corn and even a caramel apple with bright pink sprinkles on the outside.
There were beautiful women riding the elephants and crazy men tangling with tigers. But in the center was a mermaid in a tank. I couldn’t tell that’s who it was to begin with. I could only see the bluish-green glow on the children’s faces as they watched her with fascination. Her tail was iridescent and shimmering. Red hair just a shade darker than my own. She was smiling on the outside, but her eyes were dim. Soon, they locked with mine. And I couldn’t shy away. All I could hear in that moment was the din of confusion: the music, the laughter, pops and cracks from various areas of the tent.
I felt like I was on the carousel and everything around me was still moving and sounding, but I was standing motionless. It’s how I felt the afternoon my mother died when everything around us went up in flames. An explosion. Confusion. Collateral damage. A glimpse of a raven’s wing. Was the Hatter there that day?
Gregor (my dear White Rabbit) always knows when I’m taking myself too seriously. I was just getting ready to turn in for the night when his Instagram notification popped up. “Midnight Circus. Hopefully Alice will meet me…”
The tent pictured was hand-sewn canvas, red and white striped, raised by elephants. Very 1920s.
I called him.
“What? Are we Outlanders? Time traveling now?” I asked. Gregor’s laughter has always grounded me. He’s that friend that knows what you’re thinking and communicates with a raised eyebrow or a grunt. That’s all it took.
Just need to lace up my boots and I’m there.
I should be used to the unknown by now. I’ve built my life around situations I can’t control. I can only observe and report, fair and balanced. That has been my fate thus far. But I’m tired of it. Ready! So ready to be the story, make a change, make a difference.
Countless stories I’ve heard and reported, endless tears I’ve shed alone feeling feckless and wasted. Stuck in a world of impossible parameters. Worried about numbers and readership. Appealing to the masses.
But the masses aren’t the ones who effect change.
It’s that one refugee who’s lost everyone and everything he ever loved in someone else’s hate campaign. It’s his drive to make a better life for himself. He’s the one. He won’t accept that this is it for him. He believes something bigger and better and saner is out there for him.
He is my inspiration.
How do you destroy someone you love without destroying part of yourself?
I accept that I must. I accept that I must, but I can’t quite picture the me on the other side of it.
Sometimes, when we love, we love the version of ourselves created by that other person’s presence. Is that what I love now? Do I miss the Hatter that helped create me? Or do I miss a simpler time when I was free in a wild, unbroken land? When I didn’t see the realities and struggles the people of Wonderland endured. Could the Hatter see them then? Or was he likewise experiencing himself as a reflection of me?
That part I won’t know.
Written By Alice.
I thought I was done. But there’s no such thing as done, is there?
I’m sick of the spins, the sensationalism, how everything gets twisted until it no longer resembles itself.
But, there’s a story that still needs to be told. This time? My terms.
We are delighted to announce the launch of "Wondering..." a new blog written by guest Author Kristi Lafoon. "Wondering...", written in the voice of Alice, transports readers to a new, originally conceived Wonderland through a delightful exploration of the written word. Join Alice as she immerses you in her journey of discovery about herself, Wonderland and, of course, the Mad Hatter.
Kristi is a writer living in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her two tabby cats and two Westies. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in English from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana with a concentration in Folklore and Southern Culture. In addition to writing, she enjoys hiking and exploring new places and food. Kristi has a love for the world of imagination, but is firmly grounded in William Faulkner’s charge to help man “endure and prevail” through writing.
Throughout the next two weeks please watch for new posts from Alice
ENJOY THE JOURNEY! EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC!