ISLE OF DOGS PART THREE
CHAPTER 24 OF ISLE OF DOGS:
I write to you from a small neglected window seat
in Castelul Banffy where I now live. It might as well be
Mars, it is so far from New York and you. Getting here
was hell. For two weeks the small ship rose up and down
the monstrous waves of the North Atlantic. Nauseating
pitches and rolls, sliding into troughs of green-black water.
The smell of burning fuel and rope tar made me so sick I
puked up everything I ate, even the bad toast and jam they
served with tea. The toilet in our cabin was just a hole in
the floor you squat over like a dog and it stank of sewage.
We slept in narrow metal bunks that felt like coffins. There
was no clock or calendar and I never knew where I was,
except I wanted to be with you and Papa and Renee, out
riding or sailing on the Rosamund Fair.
The only thing I knew was pain and loneliness, an
empty electric feeling in my gut that burned my brain.
Sleep was the only escape but I kept waking up in the
middle of the night because of terrible dreams, not knowing
where I was, and I would remember what had happened
and the empty electric feeling would return, not that it
had gone anywhere, no, it was hiding. Sleep was just a
blindfold on its glare. Day and night I lay listlessly with
shallow breath, like an unstrung curtain.
Finally we landed late at night in Rotterdam. I wobbled
down the gangway like a sleepwalker, to the waiting
carriage with four black horses and a cloaked coachwoman
with a black whip. God, she was creepy! Does Britomart
have an even-more-evil twin? I somehow managed to nod
off in Mama’s arms (really embarrassing, I would like it
if Mama kept herself ten feet distant at all times) and
awoke to the tumult of a train station, our trunks in a
pile. The conductor was typing our names into a book,
handing a sheaf of tickets to Mama who as usual was
a nervous wreck keeping track of everything because the
truth is Mama doesn’t know how to do anything, none of
us do, except ride horses and play beautiful songs. And
Duck is totally useless, she has to be carried everywhere.
On the boat Mama and I would hold her over the toilet
hole so she wouldn’t fall in. Mama had to wipe her butt
like a baby!
For the first time in weeks I was actually hungry, so
hungry I could have eaten any shit they piled on my plate.
A vendor passed by pushing a steaming cart, the smell of
eggs, fresh baked bread, and kaffee in the chilly air. Mama
let me buy a fried egg sandwich with a runny yolk and
kaffee, which I ate in our train compartment. Nothing ever
tasted better. I decided then that I would start to write to
you, feeling sad you would never read it, that we would
never lie in the grass again, or go swimming. I guess I’ll
always be alone now. I started to write pretending I was
on Mars and you were Iocle back on Earth, which is New
York, but the game didn’t seem real. I’m sure I will get
back to the stories one of these days, but I’m just too sad
to write without you here to do the drawings.