ON MOLLY'S FOREHEAD
Dreamed 1988/11/19 by Chris Wayan
Molly's trying on clothes in front of the mirror. We're here in Rio for only a few days, and Molly intends to make the most of it. Her two younger sisters are giving her advice. "You look hot!" says Loie. The trouble is, she does; Molly looks 18 and drop-dead gorgeous. But Molly's only thirteen. A very old thirteen in some ways: back home, under Apartheid, her parents are white radicals, so Molly's been shunned in school, threatened by cops, had next to no social life, and been semi-orphaned: her parents have been in and out of jail for years. Now she she's free of all that, free to be herself, in a romantic city where no one will shun her for her name or race or politics.
Molly goes out, dressed like she's hunting for sex. I suppose she is. And not thinking about the risks. After South Africa's war zone, Rio looks safe. Sex looks safe. Anything looks safe.
One thing: along with that tight little dress and platform sandals and teeny weenie red bikini thong (she left the top with Loie, and I hope she doesn't get sunburned out on the beach), Molly stuck something on her forehead like a third eye: a lens-shaped political sticker saying
Only the larger middle word, PRISONS, is easily readable. I have a feeling she doesn't realize how unnerving that sticker is! Using her forehead as a billboard is an understandable concession to her radical guilt, but it'll scare off all the sane boys...
Ten hours later, Molly hasn't come back.
Loie and Natalie and I start tracing her footsteps. We have no difficulty tracking her--they know how Molly thinks. She wandered all over the Rio beaches, getting laid by a smorgasbord of boys. They readily answer our questions, apparently seeing nothing odd in small girls asking them "Did you fuck my sister and then leave her?" It's quite consistent--they all speak of Molly affectionately, but no one wanted to stay with her long. Each guy has a different, quite plausible reason... but the litany gets too long. Molly is young and weird and intense, but... she's warm, and gorgeous, and a pushover. Why does NO ONE want to be her boyfriend? What's more disturbing, many of them openly admit they pushed money on her afterwards, and say things like "She was the nicest whore I ever met. I wish I could find a girlfriend like her."
Loie wonders aloud "Is Molly really... well, fundraising for the Revolution?"
I say "I don't think she'd ask for money. Maybe the boys in Rio just have no other way to fit her into their world: a girl begging for sex with a radical slogan stuck on her forehead!" Well, maybe that explains why the guys are so unguarded: she's like some bizarre dream or fantasy, no one real.
But not their fantasy. Hers.
Natalie, who's only ten, starts to burn out after the third hour and the ninth boy. She says sourly "Did she have to do it with every boy in Rio on the FIRST DAY?" Suddenly, I'm taken aback by the implications. If Molly fucked every guy in Rio, and I'm a guy in Rio, Molly must have fucked ME.
I wince with embarrassment, but I have to do it. I track me down, and interview myself.
"Yes." I say, "I did run into Molly this afternoon, and we... I don't know how to say this..."
"You fucked her and then ran off, right?" says Natalie impatiently. Once she gets tired and hungry, watch out.
"Well, yes. It was weird, it was like she was irresistible." I look dreamy and bewildered, just like all the rest. "I don't know where she is now, I started getting nervous afterwards, I'm just starting to be able to have sex and feel relaxed... I'm unable to commit to anyone yet. But she thought I was rejecting her and left me." Typical, I think. No responsibility. You knew she was acting out; and you let her go.
But I do give us a lead--I last saw Molly heading toward a wealthier beach district, more conservative. Over there, that sticker on her head will get her in trouble, even if her behavior doesn't.
So we leave me, bewildered, on the beach, and hike over to the neighborhood police station. I ask in my clumsy Portuguese, "Ah, do you have a girl here, with..." and a tap on my forehead is enough. They lead us straight to Molly's cell.
A political prisoner at last, just like her parents! We doubt they'd be proud of the circumstances, but then, they're not here to know, are they? The reason her little sisters and I had to track Molly down and bail her out, is that her parents are across town, chained to the door of the South African embassy in protest-- if they're not already in jail themselves. Again.
Another working vacation. Working hard at neglecting their kids.
When we enter Molly's cell, we stop in shock. The sticker has peeled away. But under it...
Instead of a political slogan, instead of a pale, untanned spot on her forehead, Molly has what I think for a moment is a third eye. But it's not. Molly's grown a second mouth! For a moment I try to convince myself it's a superb tattoo, till both mouths smile and her forehead says "Thanks for coming to bail me out" and the lower mouth adds "I hate it here." I gawk at her and she smiles with her lower lips and sticks her upper tongue out at me. It's sexy and I think "She must really be sensual... everyone else gets an eye there."
On impulse, I lean over and kiss her on the forehead. She opens her lips and kisses me back. Oh, Molly...
And my heart starts pounding, and I feel a bit less superior to all those guys, including me, who denied any responsibility, who called her irresistible...
I swear I didn't fantasize about oral sex. Really I didn't. Certainly not then: I couldn't. I couldn't think. Kissing Molly was all there was.
But later, maybe. I didn't want to fuck with her mind. I like Molly too much.
But get inside her head? Ooooh...
NOTES IN THE MORNING
I just saw a documentary on the making of the film A World Apart about Molly, the child of (white) South African radicals. Shawn Slovo, the real-life Molly, says the movie toned it down; she wasn't just shunned and harassed--she got letterbombs. I identified with the movie Molly and the social price she paid for her parents' idealism. The real thing was too horrible for me to absorb. And how can I whine about my childhood now? I was just shunned and spat on and beat up. They only broke one bone! Waaaah! I'm just a runner-up in the Victim Pageant!
Last week I also saw a new play, "I Was A Go-Go Dancer For Gurdjieff," about a girl pushed by her guru to make money in the sex industry to give to their cult! Sexploitation, the path to enlightenment!
Molly in the dream is me, of course. I can now mostly override the radical puritanism of my upbringing, and like Molly in Rio I long to cut loose. But I'm naive, and my values are still pasted on my forehead, blinding my third eye...
Only it's not a third eye, but a second mouth. Whether I'm rebelling, or simply finding my Buddha-nature, I may be far more passionate then I ever dreamed. At least I seem ready to embrace this bizarre adolescent self, and my child-selves also accept her, sex and all, with nothing worse than patient, wry irritation. Natalie impressed me. My inner kid is practical.
Though my inner parents are as clueless as ever!
The challenge for us Red Diaper Babies, like Buddha's, is to find the Middle Way: neither an ascetic outcast, nor a hooker for the Revolution.
I skipped one early, hazy scene of this dream set back in Molly's home town--riots, maybe civil war. I think my dreams feared that apartheid could only end in war. But in the years since, South Africa managed to avoid it. The political details of the dream, like the last days of apartheid, matter less now.
But I WAS raised, like Molly, by leftists, and I LIVED those issues, so that's what I focused on here: the risk of running wild when you finally get it into your head (or your third eye, or whatever you got up there) that you deserve some personal happiness too. And the dangers of sexual recklessness, from AIDS to jail to getting rejected or used or heartbroken. But there's a less-talked-about upside too: in Rio, Molly attains a pretty strange Buddhahood from fucking around, but she DOES attain it. Not enlightenment--ENLOUDENMENT. A second mouth's not a third eye, but who's to say it's worse? We could argue both sides of that--but only Molly can argue both sides at once.
So if you're a guilty radical, should you seek liberation through sluttism? Acting out is risky! But sometimes, says Molly (with which mouth?) acting out works.
The dream nagged me until I painted it in acrylic on strangely-shaped wood panels. The dancers took forever! (Well, an afternoon each. I'm very slow.) The piece (right) ended up a favorite of mine.
I'm not sure why I painted Rio backwards--to make it dream-Rio, I guess--or why the wood had to be cut in such strange shapes, or have holes in them. Except now they do echo that shock of a mouth opening in an unexpected place...
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