One Reply to “2.15.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. My old mum, bless her now she’s gone, and she talked about the days before these days and how everybody was a help to everybody else. And Mrs Brodderick, next door, she used to make a hot Sunday dinner for Mr Wilson who lived alone. I remember watching her dance steps across the road holding a covered plate high and the hopeful dogs tripping after her with their tails flapping like flags and that was Sunday at four.

    And if my mum was going down to the shops, she’d always stop and ask Caroline if she wanted anything brought back, and Caroline had no man in her house and she was bringing up two kids on her lonesome. And mum’d get me to cut her grass in the summer and I wasn’t to take her money if she offered. And Caroline would sit with me in the sun, drinking lemonade and calling me good. And she kissed me once and she tasted of peppermint.

    And everybody was kind to each other when they met back then, and there was a feeling that you were known and understood. That you belonged, even Malcolm who stole cigarettes from the corner shop and he was caught and they gave him a job in the shop and he learned to smile and it was possible that a life could be turned around with love.

    It ain’t like that now. Not anywhere. And all the doors in the street are kept shut and locked and the windows shut too and the houses are like dark caves and the people like cavemen. It’s like the world has taken one giant leap for mankind, but stepping backwards. And I see them, the people, strangers scuttling past, with their coat collars turned up and their hunched beetle backs turned against everything and their words don’t wear smiles anymore.

    Then one day, in the street where anyone could see, he came at me. I don’t know his name but he lives at number forty-five – see how we are reduced to numbers now. And he pushes me to the ground for no reason and his words all spit and punch and kick. And I tasted blood in my mouth and fear. He turned out my pockets and took all the small money I had. Then he just walked away. And that’s not the worst bit.

    I’m lying there for an hour and mothers pulled their children away and hurried by, and nobody stopped to ask if I needed their help, and some pretended not to see what was right before their eyes. And it took a Mrs Brodderick to make things better and she so old now that she needed a stick to walk and her words all brittle and breath and she helped me to my feet and she took me into her house and we drank tea together until the doctor arrived. And she remembered me and how I used to cut the grass for the girl with two kids, and she recalled my mum with her arms hurting from carrying so much shopping and tins of soup and beans for the family that wanted for a father.

    And that was weeks back and I heard today that Mrs Brodderick passed in her sleep and their ain’t no one now who knows me, no one who will help me to my feet if I fall or am pushed. I stand at my door and I swear at the sky and ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ and ‘bastard’ I cry, and no one hears or cares if they do.

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