11.13.2013 Journal Prompt

Image from Nouvelle Vague
Image from Nouvelle Vague

November 13, 2013: She told her.

One Reply to “11.13.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. Once, when I was small and could walk under tables without dipping my head, my mam bought me a doll. Its face was made of eggshell porcelain and its hands, too, and I was not to play with it in case it broke. That made no sense to me.

    My mam put it on a shelf in my room and she said it was just for looking pretty and she said I should treasure it. Truth is that some days I wanted to smash its perfect face with a hammer. I wanted it to slip and fall from the high shelf, and in the morning be cracked and spoiled; like grandma Otis when she’d had a stroke and one side of her face was slack and sagging and she could only smile with one half of her mouth.

    Some days, these now-I-am-grown days, I think of that doll and I want again to do it harm. And it’s the same with Abigail. Everything is so fragile. Like thinnest glass or the shells of birds that have hatched. Even the breath Abigail takes is hardly a breath at all. And I look for cracks in her skin, or I listen for the breaks in her small voice. I know they are there; they are always there.

    I tiptoe round her, minding my p’s and q’s. Running my own words through a sieve so that they are only fine words and only as soft as flour that has air in it. And with being so always careful, the muscles in my feet hurt, and my head spins with so much juggling of sensibilities, and something red and toothed, something that sits inside me, wants to rebel.

    I want to kick doors and smash windows or cups. I want to shout and swear and throw stones at birds, or bark at quiet dogs, run my fingernails down the surface of blackboards. I said that to her once. I told Abigail that I wanted to break something, a face or a vase or a sacred vow. She laughed and she said she really did love me. And I wanted to break that too.

    With Abigail I know what to expect. It’s so safe and predictable. It’s so certain. She loves me and I see it in her every look and in the sighs she blows into kisses. And there was a time when I took that love and I kept it in screw-top preserve jars – something to sustain me when things would be over between us, between Abigail and me. But they are never over and I grow sick with the surfeit of her affection and I want to hurt her.

    Once, I did shout, and I screamed to be left alone. I need space to breathe, I cried. I need space to be me. I need to hurl paint at blank walls, and to walk without shoes in places where there are signs saying to keep off the grass. And I want to leave my hair loose and unbrushed, and to kick over glass bottles, and wear yesterday’s clothes, holding my shape another day so that I own a smell that is only mine.

    And Abigail does not understand and she thinks it is all about her and something she has or has not done. Her lip trembles and tears mist her eyes – her blue eyes with flecks of amber adrift in that blue, like broken pieces of the sun. And she says only that she is sorry and there is such a yearning in that one word when she says it.

    I slam doors then, making a small thunder in every room I leave. And I walk out and away, and sometimes I do not think I will ever look back.

    But it is not long before I miss her. Abigail, and kisses that are more and more hungry. And her hands under my clothes, more knowing than my own hands. And I need her almost as much as she needs me. And I do not ever like myself then.

    I go back. I always go back. And, like a dog when it has been whipped, she looks for the time when it iss right and safe to curl back into my affections. And I let her, making no new demands on how things should be between us. And afterwards, after I have taken the shower she has suggested I take, and I smell of flowers that never will attract butterflies or bees, well, then I walk on tiptoes once more and I keep my harder words to myself and I rein in my temper. And I wait.

    And I know it will be come. And Abigail will be broken into pieces, so many that she cannot ever be put back together, and there is a small hope that that day will be sooner rather than later.

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