The Assistant Marketing Director at Almost There Magazine called at ten thirty in the morning to talk to me about what’s going to happen next week. I mean my week with Fiona Wonder, the movie star. Except when she called I wasn’t anywhere near the telephone. I was at the bottom of the hill outside our apartment building lying flat on my back with my hands underneath my head and staring up at the sky, all contemplative and dreamy, I guess you could call my state of mind, thinking about nothing really worth thinking about, only how glad I was that it was summer and how big and blue the sky looked, and also what was behind it.

What I mean is just because my eyes couldn’t see behind all the blue of the sky didn’t mean that what was behind it wasn’t there. So what I did is this: I imagined taking Mom’s name tag—I chose the BONANZA BURGER nametag, a shiny orange button with her name written on it in fat loopy cursive rather than the nametag for the Waffle Falafel, a white rectangle with her name misspelled on it in solid black capital letters—and with the sharp point of the metal clasp I poked a hole into the blue. Through the hole I saw the next layer; I saw a pinprick of space.

Except what I really wanted to see was less sky and more space. So I imagined taking a pair of scissors from Nikki’s hair station at Clippers, and with the point of the scissors I dug into the hole I’d punctured with the nametag pin. I snipped at the blue until the sky split in half. The two halves drew open like an old-time movie theater curtain until eventually they fluttered away completely. What
A Week with Fiona Wonder: A Novel by Kelly Huddleston
was left was space. Deep black space. I saw all the planets in the solar system and then, way far out there, the end of the galaxy and the beginning of the next, and then the end of that galaxy and the beginning of the next; and everywhere I saw ribbons and folds of every color imaginable, and millions upon millions of twinkling white hot stars, most of them fixed in place just like the glow-in-the-dark stars glued onto the ceiling above my bed that Mom bought on sale at CostMart, but a few of the stars fell and spun and exploded and fizzled down into the blackness. And It went on forever, and it was so endless that it was like looking at everything.

So, as I said, I was thinking about nothing really worth thinking about. Still, it was nice, you know, to just lie there feeling the cool wet grass on the backs of my arms and legs. I felt an ant crawl under my shirt and start to work its way up my stomach. I was in such a mellow mood that it didn’t even bother me.

Then the sun went dark, like an eclipse. The eclipse turned out to be Mom’s head.  From where I lay, and from where she stood, it looked like her head was put on backwards. Mom looked down at me, her mouth where her eyes should have been, and her lips the wrong way, and her nose turned round so I could see right into her nostrils. Behind Mom’s head the two blue halves of sky fluttered back together until there was just a seam of space left where I had snipped open the sky with the pair of Nikki’s scissors. That’s when I saw a woman’s hand zipper the seam that closed the universe.

It was Mrs. Redding’s hand. I recognized it from the pink, perfectly manicured nails and the plain gold wedding band she wore on her ring finger. I had watched Mrs. Redding’s hand perform the exact same movement last Wednesday morning after I had spent the night at the Redding’s house, only with a zipper on the back of my best friend Valerie’s skirt.

“Why are you lying there on the grass like that?” Mom wanted to know.

An airplane moved across the sky, its vapor trails reminding me of the lines made by the green felt pens that my Language Arts teacher, Ms. Starburn, uses to underline metaphors in books. I watched the airplane enter one of Mom’s ears, disappear inside her head, then reappear outside her other ear.

“Mercy—” Mom said, saying my name, but then she stopped. A second later she started to breathe hard. I knew what was coming next. She was going to have an asthma attack.
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