One Reply to “6.21.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. There was never much to say. Not when they’d been fighting. Pa’d just slink off to the bottom of the field and he’d sit on an old log and plait grass. His hands shook a little and he kept wiping his eyes and sucking on air and blowing it out from his cheeks. Mom’d just stay in the house.

    I never knew where to place myself. If I was with mom, there’d be tears to listen to. I could hear her through the wall. And after the tears she be slamming cupboard doors and rattling pans and breaking dishes. Every noise was sharp and stung and I didn’t know what to do. If I stayed in the house, I’d crawl under the bed and count the springs on the underside.

    If I went with Pa, then there was no words and just blowing air and the dust drifting onto his shoes and sawing crickets in the long grass. He’d sit there for hours and he’d sit in silence, not ever answering me if I asked him something.

    They was always fighting, it seemed to me, and then making up again by the end of the day.

    ‘Don’t pay to go to bed on a quarrel,’ my mom always said, so they always made up.

    Making up was ok. They’d be sweet to each other, all their words soft, and he called her Mary and she called him Sugar. They was always kissing then and Pa’d be touching her under her skirt and laughing. Then they’d remember I was in the same room and they’d set me in front of the tv with a plate of cookies and a glass of cold milk and they’d go to their bedroom and close the door after them.

    I pretended I didn’t know what they was about, but Tommy Kick had shown me pictures in a magazine and he’d made all the sounds of the woman and the man in the pictures and they was something the same as the sounds as I heard over the noise of the tv, the sounds of my mom and my pa making up.

    Sometimes, when Pa was plaiting grass and mom was slamming doors, I went over to Alison’s Diner. My aunt Harriet worked there and she knew what was what. She’d lift me onto a high stool by the counter and she’d cut me a slice of lemon pie and she’d talk to me like I was there. She told me stories of when she was a girl and Mary was her sister and how they’d fight like cat and dog and it didn’t mean nothing and afterwards they’d cry a bit and make up. She laughed when she told those stories.

    ‘Fighting is just God’s way of shaking things up a little,’ she said.

    Then when I’d finished the pie, aunt Harriet’d kiss my cheeks and ruffle my hair and send me home again. The tv’d be on in the front room and a glass of milk on the table and a plate of cookies, too, and I’d know things were better again and when mom would be singing in the morning and the sound of her cooking breakfast would be something like music and pa’d be all smiles.

    ‘Like the cat what’s got the cream,’ mom always said.

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