2 Replies to “7.19.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. He was a farmer once. He thinks he was. And he remembers, the smell of new turned soil, sweet a little, and it crumbles between his fingers, and he knows by the touch that the crop he plants will come good this year. And it is every early morning and deer cut across the bottom of the farm where it is edged by wood and mist is caught in the branches of trees and thinning, and they stop to see him, their prick-ears listening, and they know there is no threat in this man. And birdsong cloaks him round in cacophony and at first it is like being the only man in the world and blessed.

    And the smell of potatoes pulled out of the ground, he remembers that. And carrots and picked-peas. And wheat new-felled and a dryness in the air then and breathless he feels, and in him a sense of the wonder, and knowing where he is in the year by the position of the sun in the sky and the state of business on the farm. He was a farmer once, he’s sure he was, and now he is not.

    He lifts a tomato to his nose and breathes in the scent of it. Not just the skin, but the green smell of the stalk, and didn’t he grow tomatoes once, too? And girls came to pick them in the mid-summer and they came in trucks from the town and they brought laughter with them like the scatter-cackle of crows and like music, too. And wasn’t there one girl who was quiet?

    ‘It’s always the quiet ones you have to look out for.’ That was something his mother told him once. But boys do not listen to their mothers. Not when they talk about girls. And he was a boy once, though that was far back in memory and so far that he thinks that was someone else and he walked a little taller then and in all directions or in none. And stones he kicked along the road till his shoes wore holes and the scold-words of his mother ringing in his ears and that gave a lie to what she said in warning about the quiet ones. At least, that’s what he thought.

    And her name was Cara. And her hand was small as a folded bird in his, and her eyes like pieces of the sky were in them, and a voice soft as wind-whispers and saying his name over and over. And she led him into the barn, and the snuffle-dark, and he was scared she could break and he was bear-gentle and pawing, and her breath was hot against his cheek and urging him on. And his mother was right in the end, about the quiet ones, and he lost himself there, but briefly thought he was found. And he was a lover once, and he remembers, and cannot forget.

    And there’s a pain to being old and it is the pain of remembering what one had and what one has no more. The woman behind the table measures out two kilos of tomatoes and she pours them into a brown paper bag and twists the corners into prick-ears. And she smiles and quietly takes his money and counts out his change, her lips making kiss-shapes with the numbers. And he remembers kisses and birdsong and laughter. He was a boy once, and a farmer after, and a lover, too. Now he is just old.

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