3.8.2014 Journal Prompt

Photo by William Eggleston
Photo by William Eggleston

March 8, 2014: A stop on the way.

One Reply to “3.8.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. I don’t know where we’re headed. He never said. We just got in the car and he drove out of town and onto roads that had few signs. He was swearing then and that ain’t like him. His words were punching and kicking and they came out all spit and hiss like they were a bad taste in his mouth. And he was breathing hard, like he’d run a long race or like he’d fought a fight and lost. And Annie was the curse that he swore against.

    We drove all night and I don’t know, but I think he’s maybe lost. As lost as you can be. And more miles than I can count between where we started and where we are. And he’s been tapping the glass front of the fuel gauge for more than twenty miles and looking to the end of the road and looking for something.

    Then he just stops. He leaves the road and takes the car into the long grass and he stops. Like this is where he’s been headed all along. He rests his head on the wheel and he sighs. I don’t say anything. I don’t know what to say. There’s the red smear of dead bugs on the windscreen and beyond that the sky is blue, and white butterflies like tears of cotton adrift in the long grass.

    And I think he says something. His words shrunk small as whispers, like he hardly dares to say what he said, and I could be wrong, but I think he’s talking about Annie and I think he’s just asked me if I fucked her, too. I lay the flat of one hand on the cold hunch of his shoulder.

    He sits up as if stung and he punches the wheel and the horn makes the sound of a child’s toy when it should be roaring and a part of me wants to laugh, but I don’t.

    ‘And is Annie just all women?’ he says. ‘Is they all the same?’

    Truth is, I don’t know what to say to him then. See, my pa ain’t really my pa. And he never knew and he sleeps unknowing in the ground now. No one knew, and I found this picture one day, in my mam’s things, and it was a picture of a man called Will, and I saw myself in him and everything made sense then. Only, my pa never knew, and when I confronted my mam, she said my pa loved me more than he loved anything else and that should be enough.

    ‘I tell you, I won’t never trust ‘em again.’

    He gets out of the car and he stretches his arms wide, his hands shaped into fists and his knuckles white with the strain, and he’s crying and not wanting me to see.

    Annie, and he said back at the beginning, said that day that he met her, that she was out of his league, but it didn’t stop him asking her out. And for the shortest time he was happy, you know. Really happy. And he walked tall as trees and he walked light as dancing. Fuck, he said and it did not sound like swearing then. Fuck, he said, and he said how it was the best feeling in the world and he said how I should get me a piece of this shit.

    It was about that time I found out about my mam and a guy called Will and I needed someone to talk to and that someone was Annie. Don’t ask me how, it just was. And one thing led to another and she was stroking my hair and saying how it would be ok and she smelled so fresh and like flowers and I dared to kiss her and her tongue tasted of mint. And we just did it then and it felt right and it felt wrong both at the same time.

    Now, me and him, we’re miles from anywhere and miles from each other, and butterflies are dancing before our eyes, and he’s crying with the hurt, a grown man crying, and I can’t find the words to restore his faith in love, and I’m crying too, but it’s for my pa that I’m crying and a little for myself.

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