12.4.2013 Journal Prompt

Image from Rust and Bone
Image from Rust and Bone

December 4, 2013: Don’t let go.

One Reply to “12.4.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. Things decay – rust and bone and ash. It is what Alice has come to know. It is what she expects. All things are the same in time. Her father first, and she remembers the small shape of him in the bed, and his voice shrunk to a breathy hush, and she thinks he did not know her at the end. ‘He loved you most of all,’ her mother said, but Alice does not see how that can be true when he left so easily.

    They laid him in a dark wooden box, dressed in a better suit than he ever wore in life, and his tie knotted straight and the top button of his shirt fastened, and he never was like that before. And not a hair was out of place, not a single one, and no spit on his lip or breadcrumbs caught in his beard. ‘Say goodbye to your da,’ her mother said, but Alice thought he was already gone.

    He was cremated one Saturday morning, and all his grey leavings scraped into a silver urn that they placed in the ground, and a small stone to mark the spot. There’s a place he said was special and, though it was against the law, they followed his last wishes. Alice has been back there since, just to see. And once, she dug under the stone only to discover the rusted container and, try as she might, she could not unscrew the lid.

    Then her mother, in her father’s shadow, and she took to the drink to drown her grief; and Alice tried to make things right. Alice thought love was enough and that she could keep her mother from leaving with too-tight hugs and a hundred soft kisses. The house was breifly full of song, though the words were all slurred and stumbling. And a sort of dancing step they trod, Alice and her mother, breathless and silly and falling. But then it was her mother in the bed, and a shape there that Alice thought she recognized, and her mother’s voice small as wind-caught whispers. ‘She loved you most of all,’ a well-meaning aunt told Alice, and maybe she did, but she left all the same.

    And her aunt one day, and her brother the next, and both her grandparents – rust and bone and ash. Alice tries to tell him that. It is something Alice thinks he should know. His name is Luke and he is always laughing, his voice as loud as merry storms. ‘We must make gold out of every moment,’ she says, and they do – as only the young can. And they make star shapes in her bed and the shapes of moons and spoons and leaping hares. And Alice holds him to her when he sleeps, close enough she can feel his every breath and the slow skittery tattoo of his heart. And she whispers in his ear, soft as whispering ever is, and her voice a fright-full plea, and she says over and over, ‘Love me most of all,’ and she thinks maybe he does, but she knows that is not enough.

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