A scrim. A veil. Upholstery’s purdah.
And if you don’t trust what you might think I may or may not have been trying to say to you, will you feel the need to look it up in a dictionary?
I love the word antimacassar, even though I have no use for antimacassars themselves. Too fussy, too easily mussed, too many rules . . . a crocheted lace of another person’s compulsions.
But the word antimacassar . . . It smells like the unexpected warm sweet spice of sandalwood when one finds a small teak box in the back of an intriguingly-crowded thrift shop and creaks open the swivel-top lid to peer inside. It’s like the swirled grit of coffee grounds beached against the white porcelain demitasse of bracingly too-strong coffee. It’s like intricate silverwork, poppies, and thimbles filled with marigold-bright saffron.
This, despite the fact that the etymology is disappointingly quotidian: Macassar, the brand name of a hair oil. The word could just as well have been AntiBrylcreem, AntiGrecianFormula, or AntiAlbertoV05.
Are these two sides of the same sheet of paper?
Still, wouldn’t the letters seem beautiful stitched in white puffs of airplane exhaust against all of today’s blue? A-N-T-I-M-A-C-A-S-S-A . . .
(Glaxo . . . Kreemo . . . Toffee . . .)
Underneath the antimacassar a satiny tapestry. Perhaps the fabric-covered buttons are words pinning these slippery sounds and thoughts into a shape, a form?
Can you read the writing on the sky?