In Between

Cath Cai
BFA FD 2021






I am fleeing. I have not done any misdeed, nor am I being hunted to death. If I were to be caught, I would not be punished or abused, mentally nor carnally. But why am I at fleet? I think, as I sit in the corner of the opera house, listening to the cántente performing La Dame aux Camelias in a Chuck E. Cheese mascot suit.

I sit in the corner. It is quite apparent that I am being looked down on: the cántente’s ludicrous disguise proves to be my enemy, parading their power to me. The opera house is a strange one. I have never experienced constriction to this extent. With every breath I take, my expanding lungs push my left arm into the wall. The wall is coarse; it rubs against my skin, itches me some, and it hurts me some. My lungs expand again. In the darkness, I catch a glimpse of the black wall. It, with my left arm as the origin, draws a line that’s blacker than black, glistening in wetness—my skin is rubbed open, but it does not hurt, it only itches. My lungs keep expanding. I think if the cántente of La Dame aux Camelias was sitting in this seat, her pulmonary capacity would’ve pierced her a hundred scars.

It is time. I have to keep fleeing. I stand up mid-applause. Holding my skirt (it is twice as long as my body), I run down the escalator. With every step I take, my skirt grinds into the crevices between the stairs. When I stop, I find the skirt has been amended into a mid-ankle length. The escalator has stopped working as well. This is quite ideal, I think— my movements can be more agile, and the escalator’s malfunction buys me more time to escape. I try to activate my brain by tearing it apart, trying to think of the antonym of the phrase “fighting like Kilkenny cats” (meaning a lose-lose situation), but no bells were rang.

At least my carnal self is tense enough. Underneath these stairs there might live rats. The hem of my skirt is yellow and moist. The vertical odor of urine, as was the line of blood I left on the wall in the opera house, was a meticulous calculation. Could this be an ambush? A sneak attack? A probe? Spy?

Maybe so. I cannot make light of my opponents. They might carry friendly intentions. I remember. I am fleeing. For the case that I am in love with them. I am in love with every individually wrapped one of them. I open my lungs deeply to breath in every particle of this rat urine. My nostrils sting, I tear up reflexively. I sit down on my bottom. My long skirt encases me like a small tent. When I am caught by them, I will be transformed into a rat as well, won’t I? I think, but I am aroused.

Cath Cai is puzzled.