Posted on February 1, 2014 by Patricia Ann McNair2.1.2014 Journal Prompt Image from Alice in the Cities February 1, 2014: On the road. 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
One Reply to “2.1.2014 Journal Prompt”
Mam and Pa don’t get on these days. Granma says it’s just somethin theys goin through. ‘Aint nothin can be done,’ she says. We all just gotta be shadows and quietly outta the sun. Grandma says it’s like a storm between ‘em and storms pass and the air is cleaner and sweeter after the storm. ‘You’ll see,’ she says.
We has a storm shelter under the house. It’s dark as a jackrabbit hole and it smells of cat pee and we sit there sometimes, just listenin to the wind howlin like a banshee over us heads and the clatter of broken shutters flappin and things breakin and us tryin to guess how bad it is this time. And like Grandma says, storms pass. They blow theyselves out and the breathless silence after is so soft that to speak is like a blasphemy shouted out in church-quiet. But it aint like that with Mam and Pa.
Been a storm in the house for weeks now, and if’n it grows quiet, it’s only for the drawin of breath before they both are blowin again. And the quiet is full of broken glass and bent pulled nails, and us waitin for the next squall. Grandma says again that it will pass. She’s on the other end of the phone so I don’t think she really knows. And there’s things can’t be said over the phone, things none of us can say.
Pa is drinkin and so all his words are darned fool-words. He’s cryin sometimes and sayin how he’d take back what he done if’n he could. He’s talkin about Mary Carpenter and they was kissin and touchin, and snortin like horses does when they is tied in the barn. I seen ‘em, Pa and Mary, in Mam’s bed when she was visitin her sister. They didn’t have no clothes on and Pa was callin Mary’s name like he was lost and she was his way back, and they was wrestling like boys in the playground. And sometimes Pa says he’d take that day back if’n he could.
Mam’s spittin teeth, and she keeps sayin ‘Mary’ like it is a bad taste in her mouth. Mary’s got one lazy eye, see, and she’s simple, and she don’t know any book learnin, and she’s fat as dough after its been punched and risen again. If’n Pa had been wrestlin anyone else, I think Mam might’ve taken it better. But Mary!
I can’t tell Granma any of this. Not over the phone. So I steal the money from the screw-top glass jar under the stairs, money Mam was savin for a new dress she’d seen in a book, and I reckon there’s enough copper and silver for the bus to Granma’s house, even though it’s a day’s ride away. I’m goin for help, is what I tell Lucy and Tommy, and I tell ‘em to stay in the dark under the house, quiet as sleepin, and I give ‘em bread, and milk fresh from the cow, and cotton wool for theys ears. And I tell ‘em to trust in the help that’ll come in two prayin days.
And I aint scared bein on my own in the bus station. It’s quiet there and if’n anyone shouts it is just to say what bus is comin and where it’s goin on to. I’ve got my ticket in my hand and a suitcase packed so it looks like I’ve been sent to grandma’s by my Mam. The man at the ticket office says he’ll see me onto the right bus so I’m not to worry. I can’t tell him about Pa and Mary and Mam spittin teeth, and not about Lucy and Tommy sittin in a jackrabbit hole waitin for help to come, so I smile and, not forgettin my manners, I say ‘thank you’.