Eyes As Wide as a Fishbowl

August 20, 2010
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Marla’s eyes are wide as a fishbowl, as if seen through a fishbowl. "Mummy! Mummy. get me some tea. tea?" Under the rain there is a city, and Tommy, who always sits under her window (but the house is three stories tall) always looks at the city too when it's raining. Tommy likes to think that the city is bathing, but Marla doesn't like to think that. Marla and Tommy have never met. They are very different. Tommy watches the rain because he likes to think the city is bathing. Marla watches the rain because there is something inside her that she doesn't like. The world is bathing. When the world is raining, the world is bathing.
A large glass fishbowl sits in the middle of the Lankerton's house. Marla is sitting, sitting!, by the window. The fish swim around in the fishbowl, in circles. The tail with the yellow bobs up and down when it goes to find its food. His small beady eyes get focused and narrow when they look for the food because he is looking very hard. In reality, the fish is a soldier. Or would be if there was a war.
Marla doesn't like her fish, actually. She is quite content to sit by the window. She would be quite content not to have any fish. They are all playthings and she doesn't like to play. Other than sit by the window, what she does during the day is that she eats breakfast. Today it was a banana muffin and a glass of milk. Marla stares with her fishbowl eyes into the glass of milk. Mummy says "what's so interesting about a glass of milk?" she goes to tell her husband. "Stu, is there something in glasses of milk? (something I don't know about)” Stu says "yes, of course, there's something-why! why, there's something in everything!" Marla doesn't like to explain things to her parents, but she does in this case because she wants to. She says, Daddy. Daddy and Mummy, the milk is like the sea, after it rains. After it rains, it becomes all white
That is what they do, and who they are, somewhat. They are going on a picnic. The thing is that it is raining and they are still going on a picnic, but that is because Marla's mother gets very worried about things. Yes, a mother who gets worried about things, that’s stereotypical. (but.) Marla's mother marked the date on her calendar, it is hung up on the wall, and told Marla that they were going on a picnic, and told Mischa, their butler from Scandinavia not to come today because they are going on a picnic. That is why they are going, somewhat, but most importantly, Stu wanted to get out of the house. They have a butler because they are very rich. They are rich.
The seaside, as expected is very wet. It is wet because it is the seaside, and it is wet because it is raining. Marla doesn't have an opinion, well, Marla wishes it were this wet more often. They forgot an umbrella. (some say they were too busy staring at the fish), and then they spread their white picnic blanket onto the sand, which is now mud, because it is wet. The rain made the sand into mud. Marla has on a white and blue frock and she sits on the picnic blanket with only the points of her knees and her toes touching the wetness of the blanket. It is very uncomfortable to sit like that, and eventually she presses her whole leg into the blanket.
Tommy and their sandinavian maid, Sardinia, who is Tommy's mother, have come along on the picninc. Tommy, who is just as old as Marla, but much more fun, is running around the beach, making shooting noises to himself as he spirals around himself, kicking up sand underneath himself. Sometimes he slides into the sand when there is an imaginary wall in front of him. Marla doesn't mind that he is playing. They met in the carriage on the way over. Mummy said, Marla, this is Tommy, and Tommy this is Marla, and Tommy said "Hello!, Marla, your eyes are as wide as fishbowls!" He didn't mean to be offensive. Marla didn't take it as offensive, she likes her eyes. The reason she likes her eyes, well, the reason she likes them is because she stands, often! in front of the mirror, staring at herself. The mirror is gilded and bronze
That's all Marla believed in. That you could be happy, one day, without trying.
"I'm just going to sit here and be happy, and you can go and play and make yourself be unhappy, or whatever you want. But look at my fishbowl eyes, they are staring at the rain with contentment. I like each droplet you see. In it I see a sparkling version of this beach, and this beach is perfect, because- because of me, because I am happy at it" The beach is rather perfect, the sand is very good sand, even though it is wet, and the water is wet and wild. Tommy didn't know she would express such attitude, and he didn't know she could talk so much. Tommy is nine and Marla is eleven. "Ok." says Tommy, and he goes back to shooting his machine gun. And Marla sits there happily, although she wishes Tommy would say something more. It's not that she wants to play with fake guns, and it's NOT that what she just said is not true. It's just. She wishes he would talk more and she would like to have a friend.
Marla's mother brings out the potato salad. The ladle is small, and it has been wrapped, together with the potato salad, in the saran wrap. But now the handle of the ladle is white with sauce and nobody wants to touch it. This is not a problem. Sardinia wipes it off with a cloth napkin. Then Marla's mother gives everyone some potato salad. Marla doesn't eat it because it is white, and white is not a natural color. But then she eats it because she knows that it is food, and all food is good, because it is food.
Marla doesn't cry, only when she is sad, and she is not sad at the beach. If Marla cried, then the tears would mix with the rain, which would mix with the sea water. And then she would be triply wet.
Marla goes over to Tommy, who is not even on the blanket. She does not try to make the same noise as him, because she knows she can't. "Tratratra!" "What kind of a noise is that, Marla?" Her father does not even like the noise. Not very much.
There are fish in the sea, and they might be the same ones as the ones in the fish bowl. Marla knows that, but she doesn't look off into the sea. All that Marla knows is that one day, without even trying, you can be happy. One day without even trying,you will look up, and you will be happy.

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