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Monday, April 25, 2011

A New Novel, Part 203 Let Me Brush Your Hair

A New Novel, Part 203 Let Me Brush Your Hair

For those who haven’t been following this blog, let me introduce it a little. I am currently blogging my 21st novel that has the working title Daemon. The novel is about Aksinya, a sorceress, who, to save her family from the Bolsheviks, called and contracted the demon, Asmodeus. Her family was murdered anyway, and she fled with the demon from Russia to Austria.

Father Makar obviously wishes to discuss the issue of Aksinya and what he learned about Natalya with Father Dobrushin.  He signaled Ekaterina to take Aksinya out of the kitchen…

Ekaterina took Aksinya to the room and shared with Father Makar.  In it was a big schrank, a desk and chair, and a large bed topped with a thick comforter.  Ekaterina led Aksinya to the chair and sat her in it.  She took a brush and began to brush Aksinya’s hair, “You have beautiful hair, Countess.”
“Is it growing out?”
“Very nicely.  Why did you cut it?”
“I gave it to the demon to contract him.”
Ekaterina paused a moment then continued to brush Aksinya’s hair.  She didn’t say anything for a while.  Then she asked, “Countess, do you need anything?”
“I need nothing, and right now, I have nothing.  Perhaps the two go together.”  She turned suddenly in the chair, “Let me brush your hair.”
Ekaterina thought a moment then nodded.  She handed the brush to Aksinya and sat.
Aksinya fumbled a little with the thick braids in Ekaterina’s hair, “I used to be so good with braids, but I haven’t been able to…”  Aksinya ran the brush through the Matushka’s hair.  Ekaterina’s hair was thick and dark with silver streaks.  It wasn’t as fine and soft like Aksinya’s hair, but it was very wonderful to feel. 
Ekaterina closed her eyes, “Are you happy here, Countess?”
“I don’t know what happiness is.”
“Is that so?  Tomorrow, you will help me all day.  We must prepare breakfast and supper.  It is also the day to wash.”
“I have never cooked anything, and I don’t know about washing.”
“Then you will learn.”
“Yes, I will learn.”

We have a small transition to a new scene without much of a break.  Still the scene must be set.  The setting is Father Makar and Ekaterina’s bedroom.  I show you the room through some simple description.  Then give you both barrels of the other subject you can’t forget—the hair.  Don’t you love these symbols?  They are so easy to use and to communicate in a novel.  We have had the hair from the beginning.  It is such a powerful symbol of Aksinya’s sin and attachment to the demon, it can’t ever be forgotten.

Ekaterina has no idea the minefield she steps into when she begins to brush and comment on Aksinya’s hair.  Part of the wonder of the time is this brushing of hair.  In the modern era, we can’t imagine that people would only wash themselves weekly, if that.  Women did not routinely wash their hair.  Brushing was necessary.  Everyone’s hair shown because of the oil in it.  Women brushed their hair until the oil was distributed—it shown.

Aksinya’s concern about her hair growing out provides a very important note to us.  She chose to give the demon her hair because that was something that would grow back.  It seemed slow to grow before, so we wondered that perhaps it would not.  Natalya reassured us that is was growing.  Now, so does Ekaterina.

Ekaterina is very wise—she notes the hair was cut and is growing out. The answer she gets causes her surprise—see how everything leads back to the demon? Look at Ekaterina’s next question—how perceptive she is, and how little Aksinya understands anything.  Ekaterina asks: “Countess, do you need anything?”  Of course Aksinya needs much.  She needs encouragement and help.  She needs to get rid of the contract with the demon.  She needs to know she is forgiven.  Aksinya needs so much, but she can’t perceive this.  Still, Aksinya’s reply is filled with some wisdom and understanding of where she is.  Aksinya does have some perception of her need.  The next demand from Aksinya shows this:  “Let me brush your hair.”  Do you remember the last statement at the table--the one about the priests confessing each other?  This is the equivalent to Aksinya. Ekaterina understands this—that is the reason for her hesitation.  Still, this, she knows, will be theraputive to Aksinya.

With the brushing of Ekaterina’s hair, I can show you more description of her and let you see a tiny part of her life and personality.  Plus, Aksinya has not been able to braid her hair for a while.  Perhaps Aksinya thought she would be asking the questions of the Matushka, but Ekaterina is in control here.  Trough this, I get to show you more about Aksinya.  Ekaterina asks:  “Are you happy here, Countess?”  We aren’t certain about Aksinya’s happiness and neither is she.  She doesn’t know what happiness is.  Remember, to Aksinya sorcery and luxuria were happiness.  She doesn’t have this anymore—so what is happiness.  Ekaterina provides some basis for future happiness for Aksinya, but Aksinya is still dubious.  Does work really bring happiness?  Aksinya is willing to try.  Tomorrow, work in the Ecclesia.

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