Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg
Paris, France
December 31
Writer, copy editor, translator, travel planner. Head servant to my cat.
A reader, a writer, a fingernail biter, a cat person, a traveller, a cookie inhaler, an immigrant, a dreamer. …And now, self-employed! If you like my blog and if you're looking for sparkling writing, painstaking proofreading, nimble French-English translation, or personalized travel planning, feel free to check out


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AUGUST 16, 2010 7:01PM

Eddie's Clothing Line

Rate: 2 Flag

Cissy couldn’t sleep. She spent all night staring at the ceiling as a million worries cruelly danced through her mind. When she awoke the next morning, the shadows under her eyes were two inches thick.

“What am I going to do?” she asked Eddie in despair. “I can’t go out like this!”

“Try covering them up with makeup,” Eddie suggested.

“That isn’t working.”

Eddie sighed. “Here,” he said. He reached and peeled away the shadows.

“Thanks,” Cissy said, surprised.

Looking at the shadows in his hands, he suddenly had an idea. With a grin he sewed them onto his cuffs.

That night, Eddie got dozens of compliments on his unusual sleeves.

The next morning, Cissy arose from another sleepless night, and Eddie leaned over and took the shadows from under her eyes and put them carefully into the drawer of his nightstand. “I think we have something here,” he murmured. 

So that was how it all started, Eddie’s famous clothing line. First it was the cuffs of sleeves embroidered with shadows from under her eyes, and soon it was the hemlines of skirts, or racing stripes down pantlegs.

He clapped his hands and laughed in delight as he went over their accounts. “I’ve never been so happy!” he chortled one evening.

And Cissy was happy for him. That night, with a contented sigh she fell easily into a deep sleep. She awoke feeling completely refreshed. Eddie turned to her, his fingers ready to peel away the shadows under her eyes – but there were no shadows under her eyes.

“I slept well, if that’s any consolation,” Cissy said, a bit indignant at Eddie's disappointed face.

And from then on she couldn’t help sleeping well – a healthy eight hours or more a night, and sometimes even a nap during the day. The shadows under her eyes did not come back.

Eddie’s clothing line was in jeopardy.

“But think how much we’re saving on makeup,” she said to console him, admiring her fresh-looking skin in the mirror.

He nodded quietly, growing desperate. 

A few more days of this passed. Hopelessly, Eddie tried to deprive himself of sleep, but when he did, the shadows under his eyes were coarse and brittle, not at all like Cissy’s silken ones.

He started slipping small doses of tranquilizer into everything she ate or drank, but the drugs seemed to have no effect. She woke each morning as fresh as a newly blossomed flower. 

One day, he decided to take a walk. By wonderful chance, he bumped into a woman as they crossed a quiet street. “I’m sorry,” he told her, giving her an apologetic glance. Then he noticed the dark areas beneath her eyes.

“I don’t mean to sound rude, but do you have trouble sleeping?” he asked.

“Oh,” she moaned, “I haven’t slept a full night in years!”

“Really?” He wiped the broad smile off his face and hastily stuffed it into his pocket . “Are you getting any help?” He tried to sound sympathetic.

“Nothing helps!” the woman said, “My doctor tells me there’s nothing he can do about it.” Eddie looked more closely at the shadows under her eyes. They were thick and rich and soft. 

That night, Cissy got into bed wondering where Eddie was. It was very late. She’d just sit there and wait up for him.... But she soon drifted off to sleep.

Eddie never came back. A few months later, he released his winter line, featuring coats made entirely of the ermine shadows from under an insomniac’s eyes.


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have you seen the movie edward scissorhands? this somehow reminds me of this. tim burton was said to make urban fairy tales or something like that.
Hi Vzn, yes, I love that movie. I think that a lot of my fiction is in a similar style, and takes its inspiration from fairytales, Surrealism, Magical Realism, Celtic mythology, and other sources. I know Tim Burton was very influenced by horror films, but go figure - in the end, in certain cases (though certainly not in his God-awful remake of "Planet of the Apes"!), we do work in a similar vein. If you happen to be a friend of Burton's, please put in a good word for me! Thanks for reading and commenting!
What an imagination! I loved it!