5.17.2014 Journal Prompt

british sailorsMay 17, 2014: They were just boys.

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One thought on “5.17.2014 Journal Prompt

  1. Lindsay

    They was boys in men’s clothes. In another time, they’d be smokin cigarettes behind the school shed and collecting kisses like they was jewels and kickin the life out of a leather ball. But they was born into this time, and so they had to be quickly men and all their life lived in one week. Like mayflies in summer.

    Mine was called Paulie. He kept looking at me over his drink and I knowed he was easy even before he spoke. Maybe ‘easy’ is too unkind a word; he was eager. It was their last night. Tomorrow they’d be dressed to kill and headin across the water. Tonight he’d be mine.

    More money than they’d sense to know what to do with it. He bought in a round of drinks and he tipped the barman too generously, and he smiled at me shyly, like he wasn’t sure he should. I told him my name and I took his hand in mine and he stood a little taller then, peacock-struttin-tall, and ‘look at me , look at me,’ but no one was lookin cos there was girls enough for everyone.

    He said he wanted to go outside, for some air. We walked along the front, and we might have been lovers like that; my mam sometimes told me the story of meetin my da and the first night ended like this, walkin along the beach in starlight and my da holdin my mam’s hand. And Paulie said I was as pretty as a movie star and he said he thought he loved me and he asked me if there was anyone else. Then he got down on one knee and he asked me to wait for him. He said he’d be back, when it was all over, and he’d be back for me. Mayflies, like I said.

    The landlady turned a blind eye where I stayed, blinded by her share of the money I gave her each time a soldier or sailor slept over. Paulie took off his boots and he tip-toed up the stairs. We kept the lights out and the blackout down and a window thrown wide so the air was cool against our skin and the room smelled of the sea.

    He’d never been this close to a girl before – he kept calling me a girl, though I was old enough to be his mammy. He was clumsy and he tore a button on my dress and I said it didn’t matter and he kept sayin how he was sorry and how it was a real pretty dress and he’d be back one day to buy me a whole shop full of dresses.

    He didn’t really know what to do, so I gently took the lead and we was done in the shortest time. A boy could boast he was a man then. He lay back on the bed and he said again that he loved me and he said my name like it was a prayer in his mouth and he said it over and over till sleep overtook him.

    He had two shillins short of three pounds in his wallet. I took it all. He’d have no need for money where he was goin. There was a picture of his mammy in there, too, and one of his sister. And some ration tickets, and I took them, and I put his mammy and his sister back into his jacket pocket.

    He was a better fuck in the mornin – they always is. And he was gone before the house was awake, and before he left, I said he’d better come back, see, cos I’d be waitin. It was what he wanted to hear, and I kissed him then, and it was a kiss that meant somethin even though it was the same kiss I’d given to a dozen or more soldiers on their way to the fightin front.

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