Posted on June 16, 2014 by Patricia Ann McNair6.16.2014 Journal Prompt Photo by Alex Webb June 16, 2014: Like shadows… 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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They come down from the hills some nights, just as the day’s ending and it’s the time between light and dark, between sun and moon, and they gather like birds in the tallest trees on the far edge of town, and they call out the names of girls they loved and love still, and the names of girls they miss. They are the runaways, cowards who won’t fight, and they are just boys.
And fathers tell their daughters in words hard as thrown stones that they ain’t worth shit, not any one of ‘em. And fathers say that no self respectin girl should give ‘em a second consideration. And mothers are collectively silent on the matter, and they touch ‘neath their breasts, just where the heart is, and they look soft or sad, and they sigh.
All through the night the sound of the boys calling and calling, and girls in their beds do not fall easy into sleep, or if they do then they toss and turn in restless dreaming, for their ears are ever sharp, listening for the sound of their own name called. And when it is, they do like their mothers, touching the space where their heart beats, and touching their breasts, too, and whispering the name of the boy they miss and who might be calling them from the trees.
Emily hears her own name some nights. She is sure she does. And she creeps from her bed, and dresses again. Then she slips out, on tip-toe soft feet, not making a sound, unless the tattoo of her beating heart can be heard. And she runs, skips, dances to the far edge of the town where the cowards sit in trees, and when she’s still a short way off she calls to a boy she once knew.
Emily, calling and calling, and a boy whose name is Luke says he loves her still and one day, when this is all over, he will marry her in a white painted church and all the bells ringing and flowers in every breath. He is crying when he says these things, for he is young and the young are never patient. ‘Wait for me,’ he shouts. ‘Wait for me,’ and he fears that Emily will not wait for she is young, too.
Emily or Karen or Sue; a dozen such girls and they come together in the moonlit dark, and they are made brave by the cover of night, and they touch each other, ‘neath their breasts, just where the heart is, and they kiss and hold hands, and they swear they are in love, and they swear to be true and forever.
But as the new day approaches the cowards climb back down to earth and return to the hills where they hide, and the girls turn away and creep back to their beds, and it is not the boys that the girls dream of then. They dream of girl-touches and girl-kisses and girls saying they are in love and swearing they are and touching girl-breasts and girl-hearts.
And in the morning fathers curse the cowards for the broken sleep they have had and mothers sigh again and daughters everywhere hold tight to the dreams they have had.