Mother (laughingly): "No you can't".
Afterwards the child has visions of her parents rotting in their graves. Her parents as skeletons with black holes for eyes and black spaces between their ribs. Their wedding rings gleam against the darkness and the immaculate whiteness of their bones.
The door is cracked open and a beam of light penetrates the darkness of the room. Her parents' laughter floats upwards. They are having dinner downstairs at the big dining table, beneath the crystal chandelier. She hears the clatter of knives and forks, and the music of her mother's jade bangles clinking against each other. The child is filled with a profound and unbearable love. She doesn't want her parents to die. Love and fear assault and trample her, like the invasion of a million Huns. With her heart plundered and ravaged, the child cries herself to sleep.
. . . . . .
Was afflicted with a nightmare of the earth convulsing: a massive earthquake, but could not decipher if it was really the earth quaking, or if it was I who was trembling, thus making my own world seem to heave.
I was afraid, but it did not occur to me to scream, because I succumbed, and to scream would have been to protest. Maybe fear itself is a sign of protest, but I swallowed it.
I rode the earth's violent tremors with the same effortlessness as my fear. It was a consolation to be effortlessly afraid. Electrifying liberation to assume the role of coward and not struggle against treachery. Lucidity breached the tumult, like the unexpected flare of an idea when submitting to the vagaries of thought, but stronger. Fear is always self-confrontation. The extremity of fear was the extremity of myself throbbing to the same violent pulse as the heaving earth.