UTOPIA: an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect; a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions, an imaginary ideal society fre... Read allUTOPIA: an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect; a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions, an imaginary ideal society free of poverty and suffering. An expression coined from the Greek words ou 'not' + topos 'pl... Read allUTOPIA: an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect; a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions, an imaginary ideal society free of poverty and suffering. An expression coined from the Greek words ou 'not' + topos 'place'..."no place." "Utopia: an imagined place..." ~ Sir Thomas More Utopia opens with a ... Read all
"Utopia: an imagined place..." ~ Sir Thomas More
Utopia opens with a series of rapid-fire images: sunlight, violent flames, large plumes of smoke, dusty black male feet, an ambulance...you put two and two together - fire! And yes, someone's badly hurt. It doesn't look or sound good. The eerie beeping of a heart monitor and a ventilator pump clicking and whooshing in the background, confirms this. Suddenly, everyone's gone. We're left with a body in fetal position on a deserted village street, covered in thick soot, and as still as ice.
It's bright white! A new day has dawned. The sun's rays illuminate the specks of dust lingering in the air. A woman speaks soothingly in Swahili...pleading for her little girl to wake up. And, she does; in Sunny California. She wakes up from a frightening dream in a sunbathed apartment bedroom with a vase of water and no flowers on her bedside table and a phone alarm clock beeping to end. She's beautiful, she's blond, she's Angel, a twenty-something aspirational world traveler who literally lives an envious life with the love of her life, lying in bed next to her: her favorite redhead, Lilly.
Angel rolls out of bed and sashays to the kitchen to make pancakes. She gets the batter, lights the stove, stops. The stove top turns red hot. Angel's transfixed. There's a two-story building on fire in her mind's eye. Lilly flushes the toilet. Angel snaps out of her revelry. Pancakes.
Back in bed, Lilly's presented with pancakes and coffee with utensils on a black and white napkin, on a tray that seems to float in the air between Angel's hands. Lilly milks the whole you screwed up my morning thing, Angel's unfazed. After all, pancakes. Lilly digs in, it's great. She devours it. Pleased with herself, Angels saunters into the closet and comes out with a suitcase. She plops it on the bed and begins to pack. The hell...? Lilly stops mid chow. She waits for an explanation, it's not coming. "I don't understand..." ends in "No, you're not coming with me." Lilly is crestfallen. They had a deal; they were going to tell Angel's mom together. Angel's had a change of heart. She's going to do it alone. Lilly doesn't know what angle to play to get her way. She leans on the map covered in a rainbow of colors on their bedroom wall. They've been almost everywhere together... She shoves her thumb into her mouth and chews on her fingernail. Angel smacks Lilly's hand out of her mouth: "you need to stop doing that." Lilly wonders if after seven years they're still doing it for each other. Angel's expression shuts that down. Lilly jokes about Angel visiting Uganda for Pride. Angel doesn't find that funny. Nigeria then. Really not funny. Lilly's phone rings, it's work. Saved by the bell! She leaves the room with her dishes. Angel sinks into the bed, next to her suitcase. She tunes into the sounds of water gushing from the kitchen tap. Lilly's conversation and the cling clang of her washing dishes, disappear. In Angel's mind appears a pair of hands with red fingernails underneath running water. Another pair of hands joins the first, caressing it... Lilly walks into the room and snaps Angel out of her revelry, again. She offers to make Angel something to eat, Angel declines her offer. Lilly saunters off. A second shadow disappears off of the wall. Wait, was someone else standing there??
Angel shakes it off and turns to her suitcase, where a bouquet of lavender hibiscus now sits in full bloom! She turns sharply to the vase sitting on her bedside table. It now has a dozen vividly red Calypso sweetheart roses in them! The earthy voice from earlier whispers in Swahili.... Is she reading? Angel shuts her eyes, shakes her head vigorously, in walks Lilly, "at least eat this." She snaps Angel out of her revelry, yet again, with a green apple on hand. Angel takes the apple and places it on her nightstand. It makes a hollow sound as it hits the table's surface. "I think I'm losing my mind," Lilly reassures Angel that she's not. She's probably just scared.
Angel quietly packs. As she does, an image of a stunning dark-skinned woman floats into her mind. The dark-skinned beauty is all smiles, in a summer dress, flowers in a bag full of groceries slung over her shoulder. The woman's smile suddenly turns into a look of horror. She hightails it out of there, as large plumes of smoke cloud Angel's vision.
Angel tries to return to packing but the steam from the shower floating into the hallway draws her attention. As if permeating through the bedroom walls, the beeping of the heart monitor and click whooshing of the ventilator fill the room. Angel peels herself off the bed and heads for the bathroom. At the door, she glimpses Lilly under the shower. Lilly's black! The hell!? Lilly turns the shower off, pulls the curtain back, she's white! Angel's gobsmacked. Lilly is nonplussed. Angel rushes back into the room and starts throwing clothes into her suitcase. The clothes disappear. She stops. Panicked, she fights to catch her breath. A faint image of a dark-skinned nurse's face peering into hers disappears. At this point, Angel's really losing it. She grabs onto her suitcase for support. She hears a woman speaking Swahili... Angel freezes. "I think she blinked her eyes." Bam! Angel's in a t-shirt and shorts covered in soot. She storms in and out of the closet, the bed's gone. She falls back against the wall, the nightstands vanish. Her world literally crumbles around her and there's nothing she can do to stop it.
Angel is violently yanked back!
All goes black.
A heart monitor on overload, a ventilator pumping air with all its might, and a blinding white light bring us to a sunbathed plain whitewashed cement-walled room in Kampala, Uganda. A pair of eyes softly opens.... The sun's rays illuminate the specks of dust lingering in the air. A warm dark-skinned female face peers into the face the pair of eyes belong to. The woman's mouth is moving like she's saying something, really loudly! Suddenly the owner of the pair of eyes hears it. She's screaming "doctor! Nurse! She's awake! She's awake!!!!" The woman is the patient's mom, Ugandan. She runs out of the room and returns with what seems like the entire hospital staff literally holding her back so the doctor can do his job.
The doctor examines the pair of eyes. The penlight peering into them is harsh. He lets go with a smile and a "welcome back. You've been gone a while..." The owner of the pair of eyes takes in her surrounding, raises her hands up into view. They're dark skinned with red fingernails. Later that day, the owner of the pair of eyes sits propped up in bed. By the way, it's Angel. She's a stunning dark-skinned Ugandan. Her doctor goes on about her prognosis. Frankly, he's stunned. She seems to be in full control of her faculties. She's breathing on her own, taking steps, etc. For someone who jumped from a two-story building and sustained some injury to her head, she is in pretty good shape. Angel runs her finger across the scar on the right side of her head. In the middle of this, walks in another striking dark-skinned beauty, Lillian: the woman with the flowers and groceries from Angel's memory.
Instinctively, Angel turns from Lillian to the windowsill. On it sits a bouquet of fresh cut deep lavender hibiscus. On the bedside table, red Calypso sweetheart roses and an ornament: a ceramic green apple. And yes, Lillian's thumb is in her mouth and she's chewing on her fingernail. "You really need to stop doing that." Lillian shrugs. Doctor excuses himself and encourages Angel to rest, a lot. An awkward silence fills the room, but little by little Angel and Lillian begin to speak.... Angel decides to rest, Lillian takes her leave.
Later that night, Angel returns to her room from having taken a shower and stares at her naked reflection in her window.... She recalls Lilly's soothing words from her coma world, tears run down her face. In walks Lillian. She goes straight over to Angel and hugs her tightly. She's missed her, dearly. The feeling is mutual. In walks a nurse! Yikes. The look on her face, you'd think she accidentally locked eyes with an anaconda. The women untangle themselves. Angel's done with this nonsense. Her expression says "bring it on." But, in walks mom. The expression on her face...well, moms always know. Her warm eyes on her daughter, she shuts the door behind her.