Cecilia Mulligan

Polymer clay, steel, concrete, and creative fiction


The person behind this nose:

Cecilia Mulligan was born in 1993 to Venus and Carl Mulligan. Carl was an orthodontist who specialized in overbites. His wife, the former model Venus Ambrosia, spent most of her time baking pies and experimenting with pizza. Venus was determined to make up for the time that she starved herself when modeling. Now that she had put on some weight, her hips hurt because of the saunter required on the runway. She moaned pathetically as she rotated a Pie plate containing a generous slice of banana cream backed up by a rich slice of pecan. She would often call out to Cecilia in a melancholy tone, “Please dear, do join me for a touch of sweetness.”

Cecilia pretended she didn’t hear and would scoot through the kitchen and into the study where her father’s nose was usually burying in The New Yorker or The Atlantic. She would tell her father “Daddy, why does mommy always want me to eat pie?” Carl would look over the top of his magazine, raise his eyebrows, and say, “You know how your mother is dear.”

Cecilia attended Bromley in Manhattan, a private school for girls. To her mother’s dismay, Cecilia loved to wear her school uniform, even on weekends and holidays. She was nearly 18 and felt that she could wear what she wanted. It wasn’t that she didn’t like fashion, it was just that she loved her school uniform. The plaid skirt, knee-length black stockings, the white blouse and the blue blazer with the golden emblem of Bromley was always on display. When her mother wasn’t beckoning her to the kitchen counter, she was strategically placing copies of Vogue, L’oumo, and Elle around the apartment and on the table adjacent the elevator. She even asked Alcott the doorman to keep a copy of Vanity Fair in the waiting area.

Cecilia’s friends loved her because she had a wonderful imagination. She could make up stories about anything. A couple walking hand-in-hand in Central Park would become spies from the Ukrainian Embassy on a secret mission to steal a Cézanne from the Guggenheim. They would fence the painting and take the loot and buy Arabica coffee beans from Ethiopia and give them to Buddhist monks who would plant the beans throughout Central America. She would say that Juan Valdez had a price on his head for selling cheap Robusta beans and that the Shaolin Buddhists were going to find him, tie him in a knot like a pretzel, and plant the Ethiopian beans on his soil. This would end world suffering caused by drinking inferior coffee. After her stories, she would always stand firm, put her heels together, make strong fists with her tiny hands, adjust her uniform and say, “And this is the absolute truth!” Her friends would laugh until they nearly fell down.     

One day, about a week before graduation from Bromley, Cecilia came home with an earring pierced through her nose. She went directly into the study, pushed down The Atlantic with her finger, scrunched up her eye brows, and looked squarely at her father. His eyes raised to meet the glint from the nose ring. He gently pursed his lips and said, “Hmm.” Cecilia gave a wide grin, tugged her blazer straight, turned on her heal, and yelled into kitchen, “Hey mom, let’s have some pie.”

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© Landretti’s Art Factory 2015