2.23.2014 Journal Prompt

Image from Lost in America
Image from Lost in America

February 23, 2014: How I remember it…

One Reply to “2.23.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. ‘Don’t you give me no lie, girl. You hear me now? I knows when you’re lieing. And if I knows then sure as eggs the boogeyman’ll know too. And he don’t never forget the girls what lie in this world. Cross the boogeyman once and you’ll cross him always.’

    I never could lie. Not after that. Not to Momma. I was afeard of the boogeyman, and what he would never forget. There’s a man up on Danbury, and his words when he speaks are all bark and growl, and he moves like his legs and arms are as heavy as rock. and his hair is all growed and tangled like long grass left over the winter. And I thought he might be the boogeyman that momma warned me about so one day I dropped a silver dollar into his reaching hand, gifted it to him on account of something I’d said to a boy called Tommy, something about liking him more than beans and rice, when there warn’t nothing I liked more than momma’s beans and rice.

    No sir, I never could lie without the weight of the lie pressing down on me like the boot of my pa when he stamps on a cockroach and he crushes it out of existence. I guess that’s how momma could always tell. She’d see me with my shoulders slumped and my head dipping like I was taller and bending to walk neath the top of a door. And my words came out broken and stammering and she’d look at me then, through the squint of one eye, as though she was measuring the weight of what I was saying and finding she was shortchanged.

    Never worked the other way, though. Momma could lie and you’d never know. Like when she said the moon was made of cheese. Blue cheese, she said, and we all believed her, till a man landed on the moon and he stuck a flag into the dusty ground and no one said anything about blue cheese in the reports. Or when she said we had to put our pulled teeth under our pillows for the tooth fairy to collect and she said if the tooth was clean enough we’d get fairy silver in exchange. And it was momma who put two moon-glinting dimes under Lisa’s sleeping head one night and I saw momma do it and she saw me looking and she put one finger across her lips like she was swearing me to secret.

    Then, when pa was out at work and I was sent home one day sick from school and momma was in her best underwear, the pants with little pink roses round the waist and the lace bra all pinch and push; and momma was a little out of breath and her face flushed like she’d been running. And a man was in her bedroom and she said he was fixing something and that was all. And I’d heard them through the window kissing and calling each other honey and sugar, and making the sound of the sea soughing; but though I knowed it was a lie what momma said about what the man was doing in her bedroom, I could not see any lie in her face or hear it in the words that she spoke.

    I don’t believe in the boogeyman no more. Not like I did back when. And I don’t believe what momma says these days, not anything. And the man up on Danbury he ain’t nothing more than a man down on his luck and I reckon I did some small good with the silver dollar I gave him and I remember I kissed the sliver before I put it in his hand and I told him that was for goodness and for luck. And the man, with his hair all tangled and holes in his shoes, well I see him sometimes and I smile, and he smiles right back at me and I think that’s because he remembers.

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