Arlene sat on the floor playing with her bag of treasure. Daddy had brought it home from a magical land she believed was named after her. It was a place of fairy tales, where kings and queens tossed jewels to their costumed citizens. Where people danced in the streets, and ate food with funny names. It was so far away it even had its own money, enchanted coins called “double loons.”
She draped a particularly shiny set of purple, gold, and green glass beads around her neck. “I’m going to be queen there one day,” she told her father, and crawled into his lap.
A decade later, Arlene moved south and uncovered her soul. Jazz drifted through the thick, magnolia-scented air. Desire coursed beyond any streetcar route. She thrived on a gumbo of voodoo zydeco, draped in swirling white linen.
Eventually, the real world lured her back. Katrina ravaged her pseudo-namesake city and cancer stole her father.
Those first doubloons surely retained their powers. How else could she hold them today, close her eyes and be eight years old again? Wrapped safely in Daddy’s arms, breathing in his lost aura of Brylcream and Old Spice, aching to start life again.