2 Replies to “2.15.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. That’s what they said. That she was ‘damaged’, as if that was it. Like a doll that has it’s arm snapped off, or the mechanism of its eye is not working, and you can take her to a special hospital, and there’s a magic ‘doctor’ there, with fingers as nimble as mice, and the broken arm or the eye can be fixed and everything be as good as new again. That’s what their ‘damaged’ said.

    Of course, this was stupid. That’s not what ‘damaged’ was when it was applied to her, to our mam. It was a whole different ‘damaged’ that she was and there was no magic doctor could put her right, not though they gave her bottles of blue pills and yellow pills, and once a week someone spoke to her in a room with polished floors and carpets on the walls.

    Oh, there were days, sun-bright and with a blue-bird sky, and we knew before the curtains were open on those days, and we woke up smiling because she was smiling too. There was a song hung on the air and it threaded from room to room, and pulled us from our beds, and the smell of toffee apples coming up from the kitchen or jelly and custard or rice pudding, and all for breakfast. And we laughed on those days, and she laughed too, and we built fairy tale castles at the bottom of the garden and she stayed with us for the day and she told us stories of wonder I afterwards wrote down in a book that I kept under my pillow. Maybe she was damaged on those days, too, just as she was on other days, but you couldn’t tell.

    Not like we could tell on the black-sky mornings, crow-black and crow-beak, when pans hit with spoons woke us, and not singing or laughter but curses hung in the air, and little John stuck his head under his blankets and would not come out. Then our mam was DAMAGED writ large, and she crawled into dark places, under the table in the kitchen, or the cupboard under the stairs, or the space beneath the bath, and she cut her arms and legs till they bled, and I sat on the windowsill and read her own ‘wonder stories’ back to her and she wept and called me wicked. And there was no fixing that ‘damaged’, not with laughter or pills or love.

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