6.18.2014 Journal Prompt

Photo by Stephen Shore
Photo by Stephen Shore

June 18, 2014: She always woke up early.

One Reply to “6.18.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. Joan’d told him once that she couldn’t sleep. That she woke up early and that she was fine with that. That was back then, way back. She’d get up, quiet as shadow or thought, and creep through to his kitchen. She’s make herself coffee with milk and three sugars and she’d turn the radio on with the sound down low. And she’d watch the sun come up, feeling the slow warmth slipping into the day. Then, when she thought the time was right she’d get back into his bed, and she’d wake him with kisses. That was at the start.

    Sometimes she’d get up and sit in the front room with all the lights on and she read the books on his shelves. They were organized alphabetically by author and Joan started at ‘A’ and worked her way through to ‘Zola’. Sometimes she’d watch things they’d recorded from the tv or she’d listen to radio plays. And all the while he slept, dead to the world, her world.

    When the kids were born, she’d get up in the night to feed them and to change their clothes or take their temperatures. And once she was awake there was no finding sleep again so she did the ironing, and wrote long letters to her parents and her sisters, and made lunches to be packed into boxes for school or his work.

    Then the kids were grown and Joan does not know how that happened so fast, and they call only sometimes and they come over for infrequent feast days and festivals. So she took up knitting and the click click of her needles sounded in an empty room at all hours and music playing and she had a blog to keep up with. And her husband was getting old now and some mornings he was awake early too, and Joan heard him through the wall, coughing or clearing his throat as if he might have something important to say. And she took him a cup of tea in his bed and asked him if he was alright.

    He’s gone now so she sleeps alone. It is quiet in the house without him there. Joan wakes as early as she ever did, but she keeps to her bed these days. She feels the cold more and so she holds onto the covers and she pulls her night-warmth about her. It is the middle of the morning before she rises.

    Joan takes her coffee without sugar now and a little less milk. She can’t be doing with the radio so she sits in near silence, watching the day passing outside her window. Sometimes she thinks she hears him in the next room, moving about or coughing. Once, she made him a cup of tea and took it through to him, forgetting that he’s gone.

    Then suddenly there’s a man comes round some days. He’s good company. His name’s Edwin – not Eddie or Ed – and he’s soft spoken and he says she is pretty and her clothes pretty, too. And she smells of summer grass. It is years since she heard the like. And one morning she looks in the bathroom mirror and she is touching her breast, holding it with one hand and wondering what it would feel like to have Edwin’s hand there instead of her own. She removes her hand and is a little confused and she laughs out loud and thinks she is being silly and she thinks she cannot go through the A to Z of another man’s book shelves, not in the time that is left. So, Edwin is good company for her, and they sit with a glass of wine watching the sun going down, and she decides it is everything and enough.

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