“Starlight Gardenia” first came from
one of my random Photoshop abstracts that prompted me to name it that. But then I dreamed of gardenia-scented soap
soon after, like a confirmation, sold in an outdoor market. So I added the soap into General Aliso’s
scene. Honestly, that’s the only dream
I dreamed of making my way through the
early morning streets with Fatima, long before I had any clue as to where we
came from, only that the place burned behind us. I didn’t know then why Fatima wore rags of
chiffon, till she got a chance to change, but it all made sense later.
I wrote the dialogue questioning
Deirdre’s perceptions to show that etiquette-correct Sr. Assunta’s rude
commentary never happened in the audible world, but reflected Deirdre’s
dyslectic telepathy breaking through by way of her drunkenness. In my dream, though, I gave no thought as to
what happened before I found myself dodging pursuers, alongside a Mountainfolk
girl who traded salacious rags for modest boy-garb. Yet whenever I caught sight of those that I
thought pursued me, they turned out to be on my side. Isn’t that the way of so
much that we fear in the process of growing up?
I suppose Fatima’s costume-change
mirrored issues that I faced in my teens and twenties. I had many male friends. I didn’t want to jeopardize those friendships
with romance, so I made myself “one of
the boys” as much as possible. Thus I
evaded the whole virgin/whore confusion of the female image. But that which I strove so hard to evade—romance—would
soon turn out to be my friend.