10.11.2013 Journal Prompt

Photo by William Gedney
Photo by William Gedney

October 11, 2013: She couldn’t help him.

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One thought on “10.11.2013 Journal Prompt

  1. Lindsay

    She couldn’t help him. Nobody could. He was past help. That’s what she thought, what she knew. So deep in the dark that he couldn’t be reached. And Vera was just a voice in the darkness and the sounds she made when she spoke were not heard as words, not in his head. That’s how it was and she knew there was nothing to do but wait, as she’d waited before.

    Vera knew to give him space on these dark days. Not so far off that she couldn’t see his every move, but a distance between them. Once she’d found him holding a revolver and a handful of shells and he did not really know what he was doing – that was a dark day too. And she took the gun and the shells and she locked them in a drawer and she kept the key on a chain about her neck.

    He knew now. He said he knew. Ahead of time. Could smell something in the air, he said, and a sound like ringing in his ears, like bells only far off. And the food on his plate had no taste and he knew then. Like a cloud that is heavy with rain and you see it coming towards you across the sky and the air is suddenly chill and you know then. But there was no storm over him, just a quiet and suffocating dark.

    She had gotten used to it, in so far as you can get used to such things. Like the cycle of the moon and turning of the seasons. Truth is that she knew even before he did. He was quieter and took longer to answer her small questions and she knew then. And Vera checked to see if he’d taken his pills and he always had. But it made no difference. And she braced herself.

    Sometimes it was over in a day and he slept afterwards and it was the sleep of the dead till he woke bright and back to his cheery self and he was all kisses then and gentle touching and laughing like one who has lost his wits. Other times it stretched across days and he did not eat and he did not sleep and he was like an animal when it has given up on life.

    His father had been the same and so it was thought to be something in the blood. And hadn’t the father drowned in Milbur’s Creek and stones found in all his pockets, stones big as melons and heavy as smelted iron and it took four strong men to lift him out of the water. No note was left to say what the father’s last words were and it was Vera’s belief that there were no words.

    And now the darkness had passed to the son and Vera looked for signs that this time he suffered more than the last and she looked for stones in all his pockets and rope knotted into a necktie and rubber hoses hid behind the oilcan in the garage. And she waited, as he waited, not for the darkness to lift but for something else: Vera waited for the day the darkness did not ever lift.

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