A Void

womb

A Void

In this, I have agreed to what was termed ‘A life modelling process’ for an artist seeking volunteers for a project he is working on. I stand before him in my dressing gown, nude underneath and wondering what he wants me to do, he tells me:

‘Don’t worry, I have done this lots of times before.’

From this, I am somewhat reassured, but still, air a little caution.

‘I just need you to lie down so I can paint you with latex.’

In this he shows me the latex, it’s white and when he paints a little of my arm it feels cold but pleasant on my form. I agree to the process and he helps me untie my dressing gown belt, although naked I feel comfortable in front of him, he has put me at ease.

I lie down under his direction and move into the position he needs me to be in. He starts painting around my neck area, slowly but surely working his way down. He is careful but professional as he covers my breasts, making sure he only touches my nipples with the horse hair bristles of the paint brush.

Working his way further down my body he comes to the groin area. I become nervous again, worrying about what he is about to do.

‘Relax, I have done this many times before.’

I let my muscles fall low, then with warm air, he blows gently inside myself. From this, like magic, I open right up like a great white shark about to launch an attack.

‘That’s right, good, you’re doing well.’

He directs, then he moves onto his back and slides his head and upper body inside my womb. From this, he begins to paint, carefully and professionally, coating the walls of my womb and ovaries in latex. When he has finished he edges out carefully and puts each hand delicately on the inside of my legs. Then without touching me with his lips he sucks air from the inside of myself. I return to my normal size, at ease with everything going on, amazed at what has been performed by this genius.

From this, he works down my legs in a similar motion. He then turns me over to work on my back and lower body. So relaxed with the brush motion I am almost asleep when he finishes:

‘We just need to wait for it to dry.’

He whispers, in this, he picks up an old fashioned guitar and begins to sing folk songs.

He wakes me up to tell me that it’s time to peel the latex off. I stand up for him and he begins stretching off the suited coating, carefully going over my breasts. After my ribs he stops and places a hand on each side of myself, then he kisses my forehead, gently and childlike in motion. As I smile he gets back to action, working the form off down to my lower body.

After a gentle shake, my womb falls out. Before me, I see its squashed in structure, perfect on the inner coating, but de-revelled on the outer. My ovaries flop out almost deformed and entwined, messy and forlorn. Ahead of me, I see the babies, I will never give birth to and the children I will never raise. The bedtime stories I will never read, the play parks I will never go to, the football matches I will never go to and the school plays I will never attend. In this he finishes the removal process, then he shakes out the body-like creation. He clips it onto a line, in this, it stands tall and strong, an independent being, strong, singular, but of great value.

Alison Little

A Void is a flash Fiction works from Alison Little. This piece was first performed in the Hornby Rooms, Central Library, Liverpool for International Women’s Day in 2018. The subsequent year it read for an event marking the same celebrations held during the 209 Women exhibition marking the centenary of women being able to vote in the UK (Although restricted to those over 30 and with property).

The illustration was also created by Alison Little using a bamboo dip stick pen and Indian ink. It feature a close up of a womb and creates an impression of scarring. She is looking to make a sculptural piece from latex later in 2020 to represent the works.

More about 209 Women exhibition, Open Eye Gallery

Starlet

Starlet image copy

Starlet is a fictional work from Alison Little, none of the charters or events are based on real life.

Starlet

She brushes her hair after her mid-morning bath, her routine so much more leisurely than her childhood days of rushing between casting and filming. She had become a star at the age of three, the Americans and due to the nature of Hollywood, the rest of the World took her into their hearts. A little lady who took the people away from the misery of the Depression in the thirties for a few hours in front of the big screen. The girl that had had everything any child could dream of: leading roles in the latest blockbusters, starring with headline grabbing names. Routines of hair and make-up, no-one ever questioning the sexualisation of the pre-teen, the beautifying process to ensure she was truly gorgeous on the big screen. Her own range of commercial products and, every girl’s dream, her own doll moulded to her features and dressed in her clothes; Black and sassy, hair dark and glossy with bright red lips. Her childhood years were spent marking the milestones of her mothers next high profile marriage. As a Hollywood star herself her Mother had ensured that she pushed her daughter in the same direction after all, fame and fortune was all every girl needed, all anyone should ever desire. She secured the best parts for her daughter and demanded she made the most of them. There was not too young an age to learn that appearance, to be envied by women and to be desired by Men was life’s primal goal.

She really did have it all, but at the age of twenty-two, she decided to give it all up, apart from a few cameo roles acting, singing and dancing were no more. Her Mother dictating her life’s direction was no longer, she made her own decisions.

A soft bristled brush, she quickly neatens her hair, a shorter more practical cut now, still naturally dark but sleeker towards her jaw. Thinking back to her childhood she remembers how she had used to give her hair one hundred strokes to ensure it stays shiny as it lies down her back, again at her Mothers insistence. An exercise in vanity while the other girls played with the dolls modelled on herself. Walking into her wardrobe to select her clothing, opting for a neatly waisted skirt and fitted top. She will look smart and decisive in this attire. She looks herself up and down in the dressing table mirror. Very competent as a well dressed she would ensure she appeared to be a happily married mother of two children she thinks to herself. Her mind turns to her recent disappointment, her husbands latest affair had come out in the gutter trash of the daily press. She had not realised that he had been having an affair, not a new one anyway, there had been so many she had lost track after their second child was born. This time it was more of an embarrassment, he a celebrity artist they had met early on in his career, he had returned from fighting in Europe in the War. He had built up fame ass an abstract painter, his celebrity status excelling when they had begun dating. So as she stepped out the lime light he had stepped in, as he became more famous the headlines began to refer to him by his name, not simply husband of Starlet, Hollywood’s legendary child star. This time it was more of a humiliation, even bigger headline news, the women he had been having the affair with was his life model. Although abstract painters didn’t use life models the press had jumped on the notion as a great story. He had been amidst an alcohol fuel period for several months. She had been avoiding him and ensured the children didn’t see him during these bourbon flavoured patches. He would spend much of his time at his studio, his paintings very dark during these periods. Many of his evenings were spent at endless parties accompanied by various women, other than herself. It was at one of these parties he had been photographed in an embrace with the so called life model come high-class hooker she thought to herself. It had knocked her terribly, she would put a brave face on things for the children and wait until he begged her to take him back. She didn’t know what she would do, say yes or no, it was still too fresh a wound to determine if it could be healed.

Then she looks in the mirror again, the vision comes directly from the heart: she remembers herself as a young girl and she sees a girl of stone. Transfixed and still in motion, no breath, no heartbeat, fixed solid as a rock like form. Her beauty is her shell, her outward appearance, her internal organs are dead to life and emotions. To the outside world she sings, dances, acts and socialises, on the inside, she is frozen still. The dark haired Starlet had become a mature mother who no longer sang and danced, but she was still the same, she must project an image of confidence and success to the World, she may be facing a marriage breakdown but she would continue to allude confidence.

Slowly she moves towards the window, she takes a cigarette from her pack of twenty and she lights it with the marble weighted table lighter. She feels the weight of the marble in her hand, she looks through the expanse of the window of their lakeside Mansion. She thinks about tearing her arm backwards, aiming forwards then projecting the shot put through the outstretched glass pain. A vision of a missile exploding, shrapnel in pursuit of every direction as it projects into the horizon of the lakes edges.

Calming herself, she inhales slowly enjoying the nicotine rush, they were only just beginning to talk about the health risks of smoking now, she had no intention of giving up, her lifelong habit would remain her many vices. She gazes out of the window, her eyes scan the lake: the mountains standing tall in the distance, the expanse of the lake stretching out for miles into the horizon. The pine trees surround the lake looking tall and healthy, strong and worldly, the American way. On the left shore she can see the small cluster of cherry tree’s, she thinks back to the cocktail that had been created in her name. The mixture of ginger ale vodka and tequila topped off with the finest cherries, a highly toxic variety which seemed appropriate for the US dark haired icon.

She looks towards the glass she had been drinking from until late last night, the gin bottle with still quite a bit in it was free to consume. The ice had melted and the lemon had dried up, the tonic was warm but still neatly assembled on the tray which was brought up to her last night. She considered calling down to Ebinger the Mexican housekeeper who came in on weekdays. It was eleven in the morning and she didn’t want her to know she going to start drinking so early in the day. He had sent her over the edge, into the abyss to alcohol added depression, the worrying over everything and seeing no positivity in the future. She made do with warm tonic to accompany the gin then fuelled her mind with another cigarette.

The water laps the rocks which align the edges of the tides path, her eyes focus on the jetty. The small lock up at the end proudly parading the star spangled banner at full mast. An array of brightly coloured kayaks lines one side of the landing,

She thinks back to a movie she had made not long after the second world war. She was all of sixteen and playing a naval Seels sweet heart, she stays loyal to him as he sails seas and coverts with women on the South Pacific. She had not been keen as they had wanted her virtually nude in many of the sex scenes, but her Mother, as usual, had decided it was what was in her best interests. She thinks back to the days of making the movie, a chance to escape her domestic nightmares, her mothers latest husband, she was now on number five had decided he preferred the junior dark haired Starlet to the mature beauty of her mother. He had started walking in when he knew she would be changing when she started blocking the door way with furniture he began ensuring he walked out of the bathroom naked when he knew she was the only one in the house. She made sure she was never alone in the house with him, staying late and making new arrangements to avoid his company. One of the older actors on the set had realised that something was wrong, he had spoken to the director, an old friend of her mothers he had come to the same conclusion. He tried to raise the matter with her mother but she would not believe a word of it, rejecting the logic put forward. Starlet continued to suffer enduring him at meals and more frequently over the festive season. As she looked for escape her domestic nightmare her drinking had begun, eventually leading to the meeting of her current husband.

Looking towards the other moorings her eyes focus on a small motor boat, the stern facing towards the expanse horizon. To take the boat and plough at full speed towards civilisation furthest outpost, how easy it would be to end everything, for the weight of her boulder shaped organs to drag her to the bottom of the lake. Her slow and solid lungs to fill with the water from the basin of nature’s whirlpool. The starter motor of the heart pumps sludge slowly through her internal organs to fail to kick in. The once long dark hair intertwined with the weeds at the bottom of the cycle of life, she would be no more……….