The House of Bottles


Oh, just another incomplete short story. Don’t know where I’m goin’ with this. Also, I don’t know how to write dialogue in Pidgin. Oops. 

(Insert Awesome Title Here)

Kapiolani had dreams of escaping the house of bottles. All the dreams were different, but one thing always stayed the same—she would never cut her feet. She’d run and run and run, through all the rooms, over all the bottles, and her legs would just bounce off of the colored glass gracefully. Her toes were unscathed, her heels smooth and soft, her arches still white frowns against the floor.

The way she felt in the dream was the way she felt when she was dancing hula. The sway of her hips and wave-like motions of her arms reminded her of the way she looked in the dreams—so much like her mother. Or at least like the pictures she had seen. There was one in the living room with writing scrawled all over her mother’s body; the only piece not touching the faded black marker was her eyes. “Tanu,” it said, and then a fancy scribbling of Hawaiian words that Kapiolani pretended to know, “-Kainoa.”

Kapiolani would make up thousands of sentences that her mother could be writing to her father all over the pink bikini and brown skin. “I love you” or “I miss you” or “I want to have a beautiful daughter with you” or, her favorite, “I will never leave you, I will always return.” She never asked her dad what the message really said because she didn’t want to know. She would see her father staring at it sometimes though, and she’d want more than ever to leave the hall, run up to him, place her hand on his unshaven cheek, and ask the millions of questions she’d built up over the years. What was she like? Do I look like her? What did her voice sound like? What did she smell like? Could she cook? Could she hula? And what, please, what does the photograph say?

But then she’d see him take another swig of his drink or hear him curse something at the television and Kapiolani would shrink away, back into the hall, back into her room, away from the bottles and into the same dream.

Tonight, she fell asleep with her feet where her head usually lies. She does that sometimes when sleep seems farther away than the mainland. Her dad had those friends over again and they were laughing beer-filled laughs and coughing up smoke and spit. She could never sleep when they were over, clinking ice and eating her lunch that she’d packed and hidden in the back of the fridge.

“Where dat pretty daughtah, eh, Tanu?” Grunts and snorts and more glass hitting glass would follow and Kapiolani would lock her door. She learned a long time ago to do that. She never forgot.

A taped-together photo of her mother rested gingerly below her pillow. It had been rescued from the trash after Tanu had gone on a ripping rampage one night. He never touched the framed one in the living room, but this one was Kapiolani’s second favorite. It used to be under a magnet on the freezer. Her mother, lips red like ahi, was kissing a tiny, tiny forehead that held a tiny, tiny red like ahi headband. These two, this mother and daughter, they looked magical, Kapio thought. They looked unstoppable together. Like ancient Hawaiian royalty or something.

Eventually, maybe after a short, whispered conversation with the photograph, she’d fall asleep. Tonight, she waited until she heard the heavy drunken footsteps leave the house of bottles. Her mind was almost lost in the dream when, “KAPIO! WHERE YOU AT?” jolted her up to a sitting position. The picture fell from her chest to the floor.

…to be finished. One day.

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