11.8.2013 Journal Prompt

Photo by Sally Mann
Photo by Sally Mann

November 8, 2013: Doom.

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2 thoughts on “11.8.2013 Journal Prompt

  1. Lindsay

    Her name was Maude. Like maudlin, she said. I was none the wiser. I think I had a great aunt called Maud somewhere in my tree. That’s all I knew of the name. I told Maude it was a good name and a strong name. It sounded strong and hard and punched. I called her Petal, which is softer.

    There was this guy in the bar where Petal was and he saw me talking to her and Petal was playing with the ends of her hair and touching my arm with her fingers, just the tips so it was not like touching at all, and this guy could see what was going on and he shook his head at me and his look was serious. When Petal got up to powder her nose or whatever it is that girls do for all that time in the restroom, this guy came over and he said I should just leave now and not ever come back. He said how this Maude was more girl than could be handled and she was trouble with a capital ‘T’ and he said I wasn’t the sort of guy who looked like he needed trouble in any measure.

    I paid no heed to what he said. He was a little crazed and a little deeper in his drink than made sense and his words were all spittle and slur. So I nodded to him and I fiddled with my drink, turning it this way and that and seeing nothing but an amber sun in my glass.

    Truth is, I was just passing through and I had a room for one night at the Martin Motel and I was feeling lonely. Petal was just what I was looking for. She was pretty in a wild tossed hair sort of way and what with her touching me and smiling and looking into my eyes, well I had a fair idea of what the night held. And it turned out I wasn’t wrong.

    She was the best damned lay I ever had and I’ve been with some women who do men for money and they are well practiced in what they do. But Petal was something else. Maybe it was that I’d not been with a girl for near on two months and I was feeling itchy. But I thought it was more than that. We did it three times before falling into sleep and I was walking so tall the next day that I booked the room for a second night.

    I was calling her Petal and Sweetheart and Sugar by then, and she had nothing to take her away from the Martin Motel and so we stayed in bed and ordered food in. I thought I was in love. I thought this was it and Petal was everything I’d been looking for. Like panning for gold and it comes to you unexpectedly, a glint of sunlight in a sluice pan of grey mud.

    Then a little after midday she was quieter than before and it was sudden, and she seemed to withdraw a little and there was a look in her eyes, a far away look, like she wasn’t really there any more. And she sat on the end of her bed with her knees drawn up and her arms wrapped about herself, and she started rocking.

    I reached out to touch her shoulder all gentle like and she recoiled as though my fingers were fire and she said I was to leave her alone and I was just like all the rest. I didn’t get what she meant. I called to her in whispers, and Petal I called, and I said she should come back to bed and she’d see I was different. She got up and dressed, her breath coming short and fast, like she’d been in a race and she’d ran her best, and there were spat words under her breath. She called me bastard and fuck and she said I deserved what was coming and there’d be trigger-happy men with guns seeing to me before sundown. And she left, not shutting the door behind her.

    I don’t know if she spoke truth, but I remembered the crazed guy in the bar then and what he’d said, and I got myself out of there as quick as thinking. Didn’t even pay my bill or stop to collect all my things. And I’ve been hurrying from town to town ever since, looking over my shoulder all the time just in case, looking for a girl called Maude and there’s ‘mud’ and ‘mad’ in that name and I know that now.

  2. Lindsay

    Misery was her middle name and she always saw the dark in things and she never could see the sun nor the stars. It was always the way. For as long as I knowed Chrissie, for as long as anyone knowed her.

    Chrissie wore her hair loose, like crow feathers when the bird’s been shot and it’s fallen heavy from the sky and its feathers all broken; and her clothes was coal and mud, and her eyes black as under-the-bed-dark. And we all took turns tryin to lighten her mood. That’s what us girls do. And we showed Chrissie dresses in brighter colours, rainbows and meadow flowers; and we fussed over her make-up and we said how she was prettier than any of us, and we pressed her tits into a push-up bra, and we laughed and said she could have any man as she wanted lookin like that.

    Chrissie warn’t so sure and she said anyways that men was only after one thing and she’d had more than enough of that thank you very much. I looked at her different then. Like she’d a secret hurt that she could not tell. And I stroked her cheek and I kissed her lips and I laughed like it was a game I was playin. I don’t know, but I think she liked it.

    We done the town one night, dancin till us feet hurt and we kicked off us shoes and danced some more. And Shelley had drink more than is good for a girl and she did a man called Brett or Brad standin up against the back wall of the club we was in and she tucked her pants into his pocket to remember her by, but she didn’t tell him and so we wondered what Brett or Brad’s wife would have to say when she found ‘em.

    And Chrissie laughed at that, harder than we ever knowed before, and I held her hand under the table and she held mine, and she squeezed my fingers, soft as a child would. And maybe we all had more drink that night, more than can be handled. And I remember me and Chrissie dancin the end-of-the-night slow dance and we was in each others’ arms and her body hot and pushing against mine. And I thought maybe I could put the sun or the stars in her eyes.

    I walked her back to her place and we kissed in the dark of shop doorways and those kisses tastin of sweet bourbon, and my hand under her dress and Chrissie breathin quick and hot and tellin me not to stop. All the way to her bed and then into sleep and I didn’t stop touchin her and she was touchin me the same and so I thought Chrissie might be saved from herself.

    She didn’t call after that and she made excuses down the phone when we asked her out for dancin and drinkin. And I pushed love letters under her door and left flowers for her at her work. And we none of us knowed what was what and Shelley and Linda shrugged and they said that’s just Chrissie. And we went dancin and drinkin without her.

    Chrissie was found one day cold as stone that lies out of the sun or chill as stars seen sharpest on Winter nights. And she’d taken pills, enough to fell a horse or a bull, and she’d washed ’em down with bourbon, and she was laid in her bed, not wearin a stitch, her skin pale as milk or clouds, and she held in her hand one of the flowers I’d sent.

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