12.18.2013 Journal Prompt

Image from Desperately Seeking Susan
Image from Desperately Seeking Susan

December 18, 2013: If she sat still…

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3 thoughts on “12.18.2013 Journal Prompt

  1. Lindsay

    If she sat still, so still there was not even the movement of breath and her heart beating was the smallest sound and words were not whispers in her mouth and not even thoughts in her head, if she sat that still then maybe she could disappear. That’s what she thought. Maybe she could unpick the atoms of herself and be carried away on the wind and be dust one day on someone’s bookshelf. Or, blown higher than clouds she could return to the stars from whence she came.

    But sitting so still is not easy. She’s easily distracted, by birdsong, or the rustling of leaves, or a plastic bag ballooning in the air and rising like a signal to children who shriek and point as if they are seeing a miracle. And thoughts like thieves, steal into her head and they will not be ignored, dance and shout to be seen and heard.

    And Willie, the park keeper, he sometimes sits down beside her and makes comment on the weather or the money in his pocket or the state of his wife’s failing health. And he offers her a cigarette and he shows her things he has found in the park that day and he invents stories around those found things.

    And Martha, a lady in a coat that she ties closed with string, and she carries all her worldly goods in two shopping bags, and there are holes in her boots and they aren’t really her boots but had once belonged to a policeman called Colin; and Martha was once an actress and they threw flowers onto the stage, and they queued at the green door for her picture, and her name scribbled on scrap paper and the paper was made a treasure then. And in her bags she has sticks of stage makeup and programmes from plays she has been in. And she sings with a crack in her voice and everything in her life cracked.

    And a fidgeting girl with a small dog some days and she asks a hundred idle questions and you cannot sit still then. Or a boy who asks for her name and he says he has a joke to tell her and he does and they both laugh and that is not sitting still either.

    The whole of life spinning around her and holding her in the one place, holding her together when she wants to be apart, and she looks up at the sky, searching for stars in the gathering gloom. But there are lights in the park, yellow like small suns, and they come on at a minute before eight, just as the darkness falls, plunges, and so the sky is never black and the stars are always missing.

    She goes home then and she eats bread and home-made jam, and she drinks strong tea with milk and two sugars, and she strokes a nameless cat that is not her own but it pretends that it is, and sitting in her armchair with an open unread book held in one hand, she drifts into a dreamless sleep and into wordless nothing, and her heart beats a near-silent drum. And all the lights in her house are on, bright and white as stars, and a cat making shapes in her lap and all the way to morning.

    1. “The whole of life spinning around her and holding her in the one place, holding her together when she wants to be apart, and she looks up at the sky, searching for stars in the gathering gloom. But there are lights in the park, yellow like small suns, and they come on at a minute before eight, just as the darkness falls, plunges, and so the sky is never black and the stars are always missing.”

      Love this. Thank you, Lindsay.

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