12.31.2013 Journal Prompt

Image from The Apartment
Image from The Apartment

December 31, 2013: She wasn’t one for resolutions.

3 Replies to “12.31.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. The days of winter are long, and slow days, or maybe it’s the nights that are long. And the air is so cold that it cuts her cheeks, and her fingers if she removes her gloves. She keeps to the one room and the shutters closed on the window and the gap beneath the door stuffed with old cloth, and her coat on and a hat on her head, and the fire as low as she dares let it go to make the woodpile last.

    Of course, there’s the sheep to tend to every day and she is worried that she has not enough feed in the barn. Brunhilda has developed a cough and maybe has the worm and so must stay in a separate pen till the vet can visit, and that’s another hard bill that will need to be paid. And Caroline is too particular with the damp smelling hay and so must be fed bits of sweet bread dough from her hand.

    The sky is grey and heavy as a sheep that will drop a lamb. She thinks it might snow before the morning and that is another hardship to bear and so she must drive the flock into the home field where the trees will provide some shelter. And she will have to break the ice on the trough at regular intervals through the night and the day.

    She huddles a little nearer the fire, so there is the smell of wool burning. And she cradles a cup of strong black tea in the clasp of her two hands, and the dog at her feet lifts its head expecting a broken bit of biscuit. She clacks her tongue and the dog lowers itself back into sleep knowing that times are hard.

    It is the last night of the old year, so there’s a wee drop of whisky in her tea and she sits a little longer at the fire. And tomorrow will be the start of the new year. It has come a little quicker upon her this year and she spits in the fire same as a man would, and she spits against the year that is passing and she spits against the year that is to come.

    And her thoughts, without her bidding, turn on a time that belongs now to memory, a time when the croft was bright and yellow with the light of lanterns, and singing there was and it was herself that had a song in her mouth. And a man came calling and his name is something she has forgotten though she cannot forget the touch of his hand under her dress and his kisses that were soft and urgent at the same time and her name something like poetry on his lips. Almost, she forgets her own name these days.

    She spits again and drains her cup and gets stiffly to her feet, banishing to the dark the memory of the man who came calling all those years ago. His name was Fergus and she does not know why sudden memory has gifted her this small piece of silver. She wraps a scarf about her neck and replaces her gloves and makes to leave. The dog is awake and quick as a shadow is at her heel before the door opens.

    Outside, clouds drag slow and billowed across the night sky and the first feathers of snow are falling, and she curses against having sat so long by the fire. She’ll be making silly resolutions next, like a girl when a man comes calling, and she hopes for a better tomorrow. She scoffs.

    Somewhere far off she can hear the cheery sound of church bells and the lights in the town are warm and yellow like the sun has retired there for the winter. And the sheep must be brought down off the hill.

    It has been a hard year and a harder year ahead of her, but she takes her pleasure in the small things: the whisky warms her insides and she has a kind word for the loyal dog and she steps lightly across the home field towards the great lump of the hill. And she is whistling as she goes.

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