4.12.2013 Journal Prompt

Photo by Vincenzo Balocchi
Photo by Vincenzo Balocchi

April 12, 2013: She wrote home every morning.

6 Replies to “4.12.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. (coming to this late – very late… but when this story spilled out, I just wanted to share it with you.)

    She writes home every morning. Long letters that seem to ramble, as tourists ramble in a big city and they wander without purpose or until they are lost. That’s a bit how she feels in her own life – like she doesn’t really belong twhere she is and is just wandering. Her letters home are that anchor her and even they have lost their footing recently.

    She falls out of bed in the early morning, picks up her pen and begins writing. Sometimes she writes on paper, page after page, documenting in the smallest detail where she is and what she is feeling; sometimes across the surface of the table she sits at, her scribbled words laid on top of yesterday’s scribbled words so they cannot be read. Behind her the walls are covered, writing stretching up to as high as her tip-toes will let her.

    ‘Dear Mom, I’m fine… don’t worry. I am eating well and there’s a boy in my life and I have a job and the sun is shining here and I think of you always.’

    She writes the things she thinks her mother would want to hear. There is a job, but it is waiting tables in a two bit diner out on the freeway where the men are all truck drivers and all have beards and thick fingers and they call her ‘sugar’ and ‘sweetheart’ and they pay her to spend a night with them when they are lonely. She doesn’t write any of that in her letters. And there is a young ‘un and he has just started with the truck driving and his name is Kevin and she doesn’t ever charge him, not for his pie or his coffee, not for anything.

    There are cheap motels where she is known and if you lifted the carpet in some of the rooms you’d discover more of her letters home; or behind the picture of Maine in the fall and there is a letter or two under that, or the photograph of New York when it was new; or on the underside of the stained mattress.

    ‘Dear Mom, I’m fine… and you can be sure to mention to the schoolteacher, Mr Humbie, that I haven’t forgotten a thing he taught me, and I still read books and I amount to something in this place, and you must come out some day to visit, and we could go for iced tea, and I’d bring Aiofe who shares the flat where I live.’

    And it is a lie about the books, though she does remember that Mr Humbie told her she was pretty and she could have any boy in school if she wanted. She wants Kevin but he always has another job to take him from her and some nights when he is beside her in a bed of letters, she thinks he smells faintly of other women.

    There’s an old lady she meets on the stairs in the block where she lives and her name is Aoife and she passes the time of day with her when they meet. Once Aoife asked her in for iced tea – she’d never had iced tea before and now she drinks it all of the time.

    There are napkins at the diner where she works and some days she takes her break and sits on the cold seat of the toilet with the door bolted and she writes on every small inch of the white paper; she throws those letters out of the open window hoping they’ll catch on the wind like kites or winged doves, and just maybe they’ll find their way home.

    ‘Dear Mom, I’m fine… really I am. And I have dreams and a person is never lost if they have dreams and the sky here is always blue and the sun can be counted on and so the people smile and wish each other a good day and a good day is just the beginning for I have dreams, too.’

    And she does have dreams, but they are the same dream over and over, and when she wakes she thinks, just for a moment, that she is home once more, and she thinks she smells her mother’s pancakes cooking and coffee on the stove, and she thinks she hears her mother singing; then, as the dream thins to nothing, she knows where she is and she hears the roar of cars and buses on the other side of her bedroom window and she reaches for her pen.

  2. Judith… I didn’t expect you to see this one… or anyone to see it really… I thought it would be a hidden piece with it coming here so late in the day.

    When I saw the picture, way back, I knew I wanted to respond to it, but the busy moment passed. Then, needing to exercise the pen this morning, I came back here and discovered it again. I do that with other prompts, too, but don’t always post the pieces.

    Thanks for reading and commenting… I really appreciate you doing that.

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