Some of my older friends will remember – I used to write stories and I will again. Here is “Mab” – it has a lovely illustration by a Russian artist named Oooli, who has – I believe – given up illustration in favour of design
The child Mab was loud, quick to understand, flighty in her opinions and moods and astonishingly clever. Under her feet a stage grew and as she got older, she learned how to move and dance across it.
There were forty-six rooms in her parents` house and Mab ran from room to room and every doorframe was a portal and a gateway, and upon crossing it, Mab shed one role in favour of another and acted out forty-six different Mabs for her audience – furnishings, stuffed animals and an occasional guest of her parents´. Mab liked doors and soon she found it impossible to walk through a door without changing her posture, carriage, voice, demeanour, opinions or interests. Often the change happened mid-sentence, leaving her listeners confounded and irritated.
Whenever her parents wanted to speak to one Mab in particular, they had to lead and drag her all around the house until they found the corresponding room, where they had to keep her until they got a satisfying answer.
Mab`s memory was fabulous, albeit split. Friends had to win her over a hundred times or be treated as strangers. Whenever she did not like herself or the world, she walked through as many doors as were necessary until she could bear it again. When sickness visited one Mab, the other Mabs were seldom infected. When she reached a certain age, Mab fell in love and all the Mabs turned a little sadder.
After her parents had died, Mab redecorated the forty-six rooms in forty-six different styles, some very lavish, some exuberant, some austere and dark. Her love life grew rampant. At one point she entertained twenty-eight different lovers of both sexes (which worked out perfectly well, because it happened to be February).
One Mab got pregnant and managed to stay inside one and the same room for seven months, but then she got up quietly, smoothed her bed and ran across seventeen other rooms, screaming. When she stopped again, the child was gone.
At the end of her life – which seemed strangely short to her, but that must have been because memories took up so much room and made her life seem a bit cramped – she calmly crossed all of her rooms and lost her fear of death forty-six times over again. At last she dug her own grave under the tiles of her last room and stamped her grave shut.