3.21.2014 Journal Prompt

Photo by Garry Winogrand
Photo by Garry Winogrand

March 21, 2014: Sometimes Mom dropped us off.

2 Replies to “3.21.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. Mam says we get under her feet some days and she says she can’t be doing with that and she don’t know why the schools should be shut for seven whole weeks and she’ll go mad if she don’t get a break. If it’s warm and dry she packs jam sandwiches into a cardboard box and pours milk into sealed cups and she says we’re going on an adventure and when she say ‘we’ she don’t mean she is going, she just means us, and she says it’ll be fun and she says I am in charge cos I’m the oldest and I’m to keep all the others safe.

    She shuts the door and watches us from the window, watches Pauline walking towards the crumpled hills, lying like cloth when it falls into green folds and yellow and grey, and Luke running to keep up, and Angie carrying the baby balanced on one hip, and our Mam don’t wave us off, just watches, making sure we don’t turn back.

    And when we are shrunk to small as pins or points, even Thomas who is as big as a tree, then Mam fusses with her hair and she puts on lipstick and she pushes up her titties, and she does all that cos there’s a man call Steve comes calling and she wants to look nice for him. Mam don’t know that I know about Steve, but I do. He leaves a smell behind in her bedroom, and his fallen hairs on the pillow, and he leaves the toilet seat up and he don’t flush his yellow pee away, and Mam is different when we return – she has a song in her mouth and she’s bought us cakes in small squares covered in pink or yellow icing and all arranged on a plate in the middle of the table, and I love Mam then.

    But some days it’s raining and Mam is all blowing air on those days, blowing like the horse in the high field after it has been running, and she keeps looking at the clock and fidgeting with her cigarette pack, and glancing up at the sky, and she swears under her breath. And Mam says then that we’ll be the death of her one day and she tells us to get our coats, and Marjorie’s to put on socks and it don’t matter a damn if the socks don’t match, and we’ve to hold hands and not let go.

    Mam leads us in a line to the shop in the town and it sells all sorts and there’s a television there with a screen as big as a wall and we sit in front of it for the afternoon, sitting on the floor and not making a noise, and Mam puts me in charge again and there’s some small money in my tight closed fist and it’s for ice-creams when the others are hungry or bored, and she says when I walk them all home I am to walk the long way home and walk slow as creeping.

    When the man in the shop asks where our Mam has gone, Pauline, who is only six and she don’t know better, she says that our Mam is fucking a man called Steve and she can’t do fucking if we are under her feet and making a noise in the house fit to wake the dead. The man in the shop looks as though he has a pain in his back and he shakes his head and moves away.

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