4 Replies to “5.27.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. The day we left, my mam was singing. That was to make me feel good, I thought, to make me feel like we was going on to something better. Pa was at the window and he would not come out. Mam said that was cos he was proud and she said that pride was a foolish thing. She said I wasn’t to look back, on no account, but I did and I saw my pride-struck Pa at the window, his face as white as clouds or sheets.

    She’d been threatening to leave for as long as memory is and now she’d done it and she took me with her. Everything we had was packed into an old leather suitcase that she carried on her shoulder and her back. I thought we’d be home again in time for supper.

    I’d run away myself once. Mam said I had chores needing doing and I didn’t want to do ’em, so I packed my things and left. Mam made me sandwiches for the journey. I only got as far as the river, about 2 miles past the school. It was a hot day and the flies were making music across the water and I remember I saw a kingfisher catch a silver fish, scooped it out of the water as quick as thought. I don’t know why, but I was frightened then. I ate the sandwiches mam made and then turned back again and was home in time for chicken and potatoes and cornbread.

    ‘Ain’t never goin back,’ she said. ‘Not ever.’

    We got a lift into the city. A man called Bernie with biscuit crumbs in his moustache and a lazy eye, and he drove an old beat up truck. The back of the truck had carried sheep and pigs, and the sacks that we sat on smelled of smoke and burnt leaves and shit.

    Mam got a job washing dishes. It wasn’t like being at home – there was hundreds of plates and cups and saucers, and mam got paid for doing what was just expected of her when we was at home. We slept in the empty door to a shop on the first night. Mam said it was just till we got a bit money together. I thought of my bed then and the soft that it was and the warm. Mam held me to her and I slept but she didn’t.

    When we was settled – if a room in a boarding house can ever be called settled – I asked about Pa. I asked if he’d be ok on his own and I asked if I could maybe write him to say we was fine. Mam cried then and her words were all chipped and broken. I never asked again.

    I remember the day we left and mam singing. I don’t think she ever sang again so I think now she was singing for Pa and not for me at all. And though Pa heard, he never really understood; if he had then maybe we wouldn’t have got as far as the river and we’d still be me and mam and Pa in all the photographs that ever got took instead of just me and mam and an empty space between us.

      1. That would be great! Your class is full, of course, so it won’t be there! But my schedule is pretty flexible, so let’s make a plan at your convenience….

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