Daily Journal Prompt #117

May 3, 2012: My weirdest memory…

One thought on “Daily Journal Prompt #117

  1. Momma said I was a gift. She said I was brought by a great white stork one day. She said I was wrapped up in clean cloth and left on the doorstep, or discovered under a gooseberry bush, or I fell out of the nest of that stork when I became too big and momma caught me in a basket – and she showed me the basket. I don’t know if ever I believed her or if I didn’t. We laugh when she tells it now, and her laughing gives me permission to not believe.

    But there is a stork in the town. I see it sometimes, flying across the last-light-sky, its wings beating the air into fluster, and the shape that it makes not like any other bird that I know. And it is white and as tall as a boy on spindle legs, and it has a scruffy nest on top of a chimneystack, a bristling ball of dead sticks and dry grass that increases in size year on year.

    I some days look for babies in that nest, or falling from there, and in that looking I suppose I believe what Momma said. I asked Momma one day why they did not remove the nest from the top of that chimneystack and she didn’t say it was because of babies. Momma said it was because of luck and blessings and she said storks were a protection against fire.

    I am older now, and momma’s stories, when she tells them, they don’t seem so real. She touches wood for luck, and I don’t see how luck can come from that, any more than it can come from horseshoes hung on the door, or clover pressed flat between the pages of a book or tucked into letters.

    And she throws spilled salt over her left shoulder to blind the devil, but then she says the devil is clever and that is where we get the word ‘devious’, and if he’s so clever then he would understand about momma and the salt over her left shoulder and not be blinded ever.

    And momma skips sometimes, in the street, tripping and dancing like a girl and not wanting to step on the cracks in the pavement for fear of something bad happening to her – ‘step on a crack, you break your back’. But then today momma skipping and she fell, and the doctor says she has broken her leg and she must not put any weight on it for a few days, and then she must lean on sticks till the bone mends, walking like an old crow or ungainly as the stork when it is picking up grass from the cut barley field.

    And there’s a boy called Matthew, like the saint, except he is a scientist, and he holds my hand in the pine-scented dark of the wood, and he tells me stories of touching and kissing and eggs with babies inside. And he laughs at momma’s story of the stork, and her gooseberry bush tale, and my falling out of the nest into momma’s shopping basket. And Matthew says it is sweet that I think these things, but he says the world has wonder enough in it without momma’s stories. And Matthew kisses me and touches under my dress and I suck for breath and I close my eyes tight and there are stars bursting in that dizzy shut-eye dark, and with such proof I believe what Matthew says – but didn’t momma have proof, too, with her basket, and the stork on the chimney stack, and a piece of cloth that once I was wrapped in?

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