Dorothea Perrine, Part 1

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Dorothea Perrine, Part 1

Dorrie Binderpunch is what they called Dorethea behind her back at the County Tax Assessor’s Office where she nursed the property flats and the filing ledgers in a dank back room. She didn’t mind the teasing all that much. What was the harm in it? This snarky mistreatment by her co-workers was only the faintest blip on her moral radar. She was beset by bigger matters.

She saw things but not always clearly. She was born with a touch of her grandmother Serena’s gift for insight—Sister Serena was a famous voyant among the Creoles on Assumption Street—and accepted this talent as a blessing most of the time. But as the years rolled by, her sense of being doué came to be an unbearable anguish as the tiny blips on her radar multiplied into a swarm of wasps, angry wasps, whose venom gradually poisoned her with a helpless despair.

She functioned—did her job at the Courthouse, went to Sunday morning mass once in a while, kept her little house clean, repainted the trees and furniture in her yard every spring, and so on—yet she grew snappish and withdrawn. She lost the knack of forgiveness and forbearance.

She began paying attention to voices that told her that her world was vanishing and that the way ahead was not a pretty sight. Do not look, the voices said, or you will surely die. But Dorethea figured what difference would it make? I’ll die if I look. I’ll die if I don’t.

So she decided to look and set a time and place.

Photograph © D Young

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