Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Ain’t them three sisters gonna curse me, like witches do?



I can hear a noise of some kind, clicking awful close to my ear, on the other side, I mean, Lenny’s side of the bed. I try to stay still, because of this dull pain, and because of wondering if, somewhere deep inside, my baby can feel it, too. 
Then I turn my head—just a little—and take a peak over my shoulder. I glance real quick at that standalone mirror, which is facing away from me. And what do I see reflected there, if not something that’s, like, so strange to my eyes, so unusual, that it makes me want to blink, or wipe them in awe.
Three squares of fuzzy wool are being held there, suspended in midair. Directly behind them hang three shadows, under which you can see three chubby old women, crinkling their noses—long, longer, longest. They’re straining their crossed, beady eyes with great focus, under three pairs of glasses, and clinking, clinking, clinking three pairs of knitting needles, like, all together now! 
And there, on the floor, you can see three balls of thick yarn chasing each other, and from time to time, getting tied in knots, every which way across them fat ankles. 
Anyway, at first glance them old women look kinda similar, like a rough, wrinkled copy of each other, what with those high arched, strange eyebrows. I pinch myself, but they’re still there—in the mirror as well as outside of it—no matter how long I try blinking and wiping my eyes. It takes me a while to tell them apart: 
The one sitting to the left, she’s toothless. The one in the middle has a pimple on her veined temple. And the one to the right, well, her nose isn’t only the longest, but also the knobbiest of all three. 
Wrapped around her neck is a long tape measure, the edges of which roll all the way down and curl there, in her lap, next to a pair of scissors. 
All of a sudden, like something has clicked in my head, I know who she is: this is Hadassa Rosenblatt, known to all as aunt Hadassa—though nobody can tell me exactly whose aunt she is anyway—she was the one spreading nasty, awful rumors about me, saying I was dating some other boyfriend, like, behind Lenny’s back. 
At the time, I decided to make things real easy for her, and told her there’s no need for her to come to my wedding, and in fact it would be so much better if she’d stay as far as she could from me; which made her sisters, Frida and Fruma, stay home, too. Since then, my mind is kinda at ease—except for wondering, Why the gossip? Why did she try meddling in my affairs? And now, ain’t them three sisters gonna curse me, like witches do, in old children stories? 

The three witches appear in many mythologies, including the Greek one, where one spun the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle, another measured the thread of life allotted to each person with her measuring rod, and the third was the cutter of the thread of life. She chose the manner of each person's death; and when their time was come, she cut their life-thread with her shears. Anita has a memory of the Norse version of the three fates:

He took me to some opera, Wagner I think, which was long and kinda difficult to get, but he told me to listen, and he explained it all to me, and from there I remember them, the three Norns: They spun the thread of fate, and they sang, like, the song of the future. 
Beware, they sang. 
Beware, I tell myself now, as aunt Hadassa holds up the yarn, and snips it.

Anita in My Own Voice
Included in Apart From Love


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