2 Replies to “6.7.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. Reblogged this on Books Make Me Happy and commented:
    They said it would be fun. I listened to their words fully. I wanted this spiritual retreat to count. Plus, I wanted to have fun. I didn’t want it to be one where I just wrote down addresses and phone numbers. For a long time this was an easy way to meet new people and make a few lasting friendships. It didn’t take long before I discovered my idea of meeting friends and shutting down during group sessions and lectures had left me totally empty for real life back in my home town. As a matter of fact, two relationships had bottomed out. Simply because I didn’t have the right words for a friend who had been fired from her job. I felt so badly. She needed that job desperately. She was a single parent with no insurance and no family to help her in an emergency. When she broke down over a cheeseburger at BurgerPluto. I almost went into cardiac arrest. No one had ever cried on my shoulder. I really didn’t know what to say or even what to do with my hands. I said, “let me go get you some tissue and water.” Those were my first words. The minute I walked away a lesson from my workbook came to mind. The title “Touch Means More Than Words.” Why didn’t I rub her back? Why didn’t I touch her hand? When I came back to the table, I saw her running out the door. I’ve never heard from her since that time. I lost a good friend. She liked to needlepoint like me. She was going to help me get a job in her fast growing company, and she was teaching me how to play the piano in exchange for me keeping the baby.

    Obviously, I needed to start from step one. I would go to another retreat with different goals in mind. I wasn’t going to walk around with a false smile, a small pad and pencil in order to write down phone numbers of people who looked professional and outgoing all at the same time. Ginger’s breakdown reshaped a part of my life.

  2. Memories can be fragmentary sometimes. Like a cup my dad dropped on the floor of our kitchen when I was seven, or maybe the cup was thrown. And my mum collected all the pieces together in a lap of newspaper. Later, when my dad was out, mum sat at the quiet table and carefully glued the broken bits back together, except there were pieces of the picture missing and the cup had holes and never could hold tea again. And memory is like that.

    There was a fair somewhere in town. Next to the train station. I don’t know if it was always there, but it had the feel of permanence about it – the feel of age and decay and make-do-and-mend. It was dark in there, in the great cavern of space where the fair was, and it was always night. The air was thick and it smelled of oil and cigarettes and burnt sugar. There was an automaton half-sized clown in a glass case somewhere near the door and the light on it was yellow like firelight and it flickered like fire, too. And the garish clown rocked back and forth, like bad dancing, and it laughed, a jagged metallic laughter that wouldn’t stop. I thought it was frightening when I was seven, but dad and mum didn’t seem to notice.

    They called it a funfair and there was a bumper car ride that my dad took me on. The lights all around blinked red and yellow and green, and a man stepped easy between the cars collecting money in a brown leather satchel he wore strapped across his chest and balanced on his hip, and there was music playing so loud we could not hear what he said when he was explaining how things worked. And then the sudden jerk of everything, the whole world jumping suddenly, and sparks fizzing over our heads, and all the cars thumping heavy into each other and everybody laughing louder than the music, or screaming, and I wanted to get off but my dad shouted that I couldn’t, not till all the cars stopped, and at the end of the ride I was sick.

    I went back there when I was twelve, to the fair, and I went with a girl called Milly. She pretended she was scared just so I would hold her hand and I pretended I wasn’t frightened any more. And we went on the ghost train and it was all cheap tricks and kids’ stuff and we laughed at the silly it was and we ended up kissing, me and Milly, in the ghost train dark dark, and kissing with tongues, and my hand touching her tits through her dress, and that was fright and thrill at the same time.

    It’s not there now, the fair. Not any sign that it ever was and the years on me are so many and I am not sure that I didn’t dream the whole thing. I was in town today and a woman stopped to ask me for change for the bus and I thought I recognized her, something in her. After she got on her bus I found her name in my head and it was Milly, a little cracked and with pieces missing, but I was sure it was her, and I felt twelve again and the palm of my hand itched and the broken bits of memory came back to me and I laughed out loud and remembered again that clown laughing and how scary it once was.

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