Posted on January 30, 2014 by Patricia Ann McNair1.30.2014 Journal Prompt Image from Wanda January 30, 2014: It was too much. Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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Sometimes, when she was a child, the world got too much for her. That’s what it felt like. Her da shouting so loud the walls of the house shook and cups and plates in the cupboards rattled and the clock hands stopped and roof slates lost their hold and slipped to the ground with a heavy crash. Or mam slamming doors some days and all her words fizzing like a shook cola bottle and tears in her words, too. No telling what the shouting and crying was for and no predicting when it would happen.
Or the day the dog died. Candy, and he slept at the foot of her bed most nights, a warm pillow for her feet when the frost left flowers on the inside of the window glass. And once she was small enough she could ride him like a horse. And he finished her vegetables when mam wasn’t looking, passed to him under the table because he could swallow things without tasting them. And da carried Candy into the house one day, limp as an old fleece and blood dropping from the old fool dog’s open mouth, staining the floor. And the world, her world, so sore then she could not bear it.
And she took herself down to the cellar, down into the spider-dark, and no light on anywhere and the heavy door closed fast behind her. She’d sit for hours then, curled up into the coal, still as still, and hardly breathing. Even if her eyes opened it was like she wasn’t really there, not really anywhere. Sometimes the sound of thunder rolled over her head, faint and distant, her mam and her da stamping across the wooden floor of the kitchen, and she put her fingers in her ears and was nothing again.
Older one day, and Billy from the next farm kissed her down by the river and he put his hand ‘neath her dress and touched her diddies, rubbing the buds till they ached, pinching them like he pinched her cheek once for spite, only it was different now. His breath was hot on her neck and he took her hand and put it in his pants. Too much for her then, and she ran from him, and he ran after, and she was only safe once she’d found her nest again amongst the coal.
Came a time, all too quick, when her mam and da got so many years between them that they could not manage the farm. Sold every inch of the land around them, a little more each year, all except for the house and the bit of garden where they still grew vegetables and the ground where Candy’s buried with a rotting wooden cross at his head. She looks after them now, after mam and da. No walls shaking these days, or slates slipping from the roof, or mam slamming doors. She’s a job in town, in a clean office where the men are respectful and the money’s good. And Billy is married and he got his leg bit by a combine and so he walks with a limp and he don’t ever run nowhere.
But sometimes it can still be too much. All of it. And she takes herself down to the cellar where it is coal-skuttle black and the air is dry as sunbake and she sits alone till her thoughts become quiet as mouse-scamper and everything so slow and so slow that between breaths she is nothing again.