One Reply to “6.12.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. The day she left, I pretended like it was nothin. I carried her bags to the bus and I kept all my words tight to myself. She was beside me, holdin onto my arm and sayin how she maybe could stay a day longer and be late for school. No one’d notice, she said. And she was laughin and makin light of it all, but her voice held tears, and mine did too, if I’d dared speak. I loaded her bags onto the bus and I stood tall and stiff and made like her goin was nothin.

    But it warn’t nothin. I so wanted Kitty to stay, more’n breath or bread, maybe just one day longer, maybe that’d be enough. And we’d sneak off to Bricker’s pond and we’d strip off and go swimmin where no one was by, like we always done, and Kitty shriekin ‘gainst the cold that the water is, shriekin like the barn owl shrieks in the night, and both of us laughin like it was just another day. And after, eatin melon or pears, and all the juices runnin down her neck and over her diddies, and I’d suck up that sweetness and we’d make ourselves into one delicious ball of wantin and havin. And we’d be down at the bus the next mornin and Kitty sayin again as how maybe she could be another day late for school and no one’d ever know.

    ‘You’re gonna be somethin in this world, Kitty,’ I says to her. ‘You got ‘ntelligence and you gotta use that. Ain’t nothin for you here.’

    All my words seemin hard as flint, but I only meant good by what I said.

    ‘You’re here,’ Kitty says.

    Girls in these parts, they don’t have much. A few years dancin and singin, and then kids comin every other year, and girls are women then and suddenly grey and old and bitter as wormwood or rue. I see ‘em and they’s faces is all pinched and they move like they’s carryin a great burden and they’s feet draggin slow in the dirt. And Kitty, she’s so pretty it hurts, you know. Inside it hurts. And I don’t want her to ever be old and right in front of my eyes and all her dancin steps turned to draggin. And the school teacher says it’d be a sin to waste what she got, and the minister says the same, too.

    So, I do my duty by God, and I let her go, knowin it’d be better for her that way, and I don’t show her that her goin is somethin hard for me. She says how she loves me and how she’ll be back on the very next bus and how her heart’s breakin just to leave. And she’s cryin and that hurts hardest. And I wipe away her tears with the flat of my hand, hold them in the closed cup of my clenched fist, and when she’s gone I lick up the salt from my palm and I don’t ever know how I will get through the day, all the days.

    And that was a year and some back, and she wrote me she’s comin home today and I’m waitin on the bus and the street looks the same as it always looks and all the people the same, too. I put on a clean shirt for her and a bit spit and polish to my shoes and my hair all combed flat, but I reckon I look somethin the same as when she left. And I wait, pretendin again like it’s nothin, when I knows it is everythin.

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