Posted on June 5, 2014 by Patricia Ann McNair6.5.2014 Journal Prompt Image from A Taste of Honey June 5, 2014: It was all she needed. Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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Reg’lar as sun up or moon cycles, and our Aunt Tilda climbs the hill from her house to ours every last Friday of the month. She’s packed dresses for new days and a hat for Sunday church and shoes that are her best. And Cheep, the canary, in its cleaned cage and she brings him, too. And she comes to stay till her husband is sober again.
Every last Friday of the month and our Uncle Dill has as much money in his pockets as any rich man has. They pay him handsomely at the bottling factory where he works all hours, and they give him the Saturday following off. And, despite his promises to come straight home this time, swearing on his old mother’s life, he always stops for a ‘quick one’ in the Coach and Horses. And a ‘quick one’ leads to another one, and then quickly to another, and before he knows it he’s as ‘drunk as skunk’ – that’s what Aunt Tilda says.
Every last Friday of the month and Aunt Tilda watches the hands of the clock moving slow towards six and she cocks her head like a bird when its listening and she don’t hear her husband’s boots clattering on the path and she sighs like the wind, picks up her things, and begins the long-drag breathless climb to our house.
Our dad sleeps on the sofa every last Friday night of the month, and the Staurday following and the Sunday, too. He has a crick in his back come Monday and he looks like a bag of spanners and all his words snap or spit. And he says it’s no trouble when Aunt Tilda says she’s sorry to be putting him out again. Aunt Tilda is his baby sister and he loves her near as much as he loves our mam.
And Monday evening, at the end of his shift at the bottling, our Uncle Dill comes cap in hand and knocking at our door. And he waits on the step outside like he ain’t family no more, and he’s brushed his hair flat with spit and the press of his hand, and he’s put a bit polish to his boots that he wears and he’s got on his best suit, the one he was married in and it’s a little tight across his middle now and a little uncomfortable for that, but he wears it all the same. And he has a speech prepared in case she puts up an objection.
Aunt Tilda’s got her coat on and all her things packed, but she sits taking her last cup of tea and making him wait, making him knock a second time and a third – till he’s sweating in his suit and collar and tie, and he looks down at his feet to check the shine of his shoes, and he clears his throat and knocks a patient fourth time.
There’s silver in the saucer that Aunt Tilda passes back to our mam and she makes the shape of ‘thank you’ with her lipstick-lips and she picks up her things that are already packed and her hat in its box and her shoes in a bag and Cheep, the canary, in its cage. And she goes back to her house at the bottom of the hill, and Uncle Dill walks a step or two behind her and he makes bold promises to do better next time.
Our dad keeps all Aunt Tilda’s silver in a glass jar on a shelf in the kitchen and we watch it getting full. And once a year he takes his baby sister, our Aunt Tilda, out on the town, and our mam goes, too, and they drink till there’s a loud enough song in each of them and their walking is like dancing. And Uncle Dill must make his own tea that night and fill his own hot water bottle from the kettle and get himself up for work the next day. And that’s just how it is.