6.26.2014 Journal Prompt

Photo by Bill Brandt
Photo by Bill Brandt

June 26, 2014: They traveled together.

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One thought on “6.26.2014 Journal Prompt

  1. Lindsay

    Miss Amelai and Miss Camilla, with a combined age of over 150, but they would never say exactly who was the older and who the younger. Old as trees are or hills, and all their words soft as blown feathers or dandelion clocks in a wind – as though it was a great effort to simply speak. They rented the apartment above our heads, the same arrangement for years, and they stayed for the whole of the summer.

    Mama threw the windows wide the week before they arrived, to freshen the air in the rooms and to let in the light. And she made up the two beds with her best sheets, and lavender in vases dripping a heady perfume everywhere. And an order for milk and tea and olives and bread and cheese. And a bottle of Perrier Jouet on ice. Mama left a card with a note of welcome inside, and a bag of cantucci baresi for Miss Amelia’s sweet tooth. And mama laid out some new books on the area for Miss Camilla.

    And the rules of our house changed for the summer. Living below the two old ladies, we had to be a little quieter in our day-to-day, and mama’s head cocked on one side sometimes, like a bird when it listens, and she was waiting for Miss Amelia or Miss Camilla to need her assistance on some small matter.

    And they betrayed themselves in small gestures and looks, for there was an uncommon tenderness between them – Miss Amelia absently stroking the arm of Miss Camilla, or brushing a wisp of her hair back from Miss Camilla’s cheek – as a mother might do with a dear child; and Miss Camilla, always deferring to Miss Amelia’s better judgement in everything, and holding the door open for Miss Amelia to pass through, and paying for everything that they bought.

    Once, years back, mama said she saw them kissing and so we thought they must be lovers. And they slept in the one bed, despite mama’s making up the two beds. And they held each other’s hand with such an open gentleness. I asked to photograph them once, just their hands, clasped together and so loose a hold on each other. The picture I took hangs in a frame on the wall of my room and it catches the attention of all who see it.

    I kiss Ciana sometimes and she touches my breasts and it never feels wrong or unnatural. And I hold her hand, just like in the photograph, and I tell her that one day we will be lovers.

    Then a week past, a letter for mama from Miss Amelia and it says to only make up the one bed this year. No other alteration to the booking and so we thought nothing more of it. But come the day when we must keep the music turned down in our rooms, and close cupboards and drawers soft as whispers, and take off our shoes at the door so all our indoor walking is as light as tip-toe creeping – come the start of our summer, as all our summers before, and this time Miss Amelia arrives alone.

    Mama does not like to ask after Miss Camilla. She’d laid out the groceries, and the bag of cantucci baresi, and some new books on the area, same as always. But now she felt bad about the books. Miss Amelia thanked mama, and she said it was perfect and it was nice to be back, and she walked out onto the balcony where mama had once seen her kissing Miss Camilla – and Miss Amelia looked smaller and older and she moved as though she was walking on a boat and the deck shifting under her feet.

    Nothing said.

    Later, as summer moved to its end, Miss Amelia was seen crying. Mama it was who found her, and she asked if Miss Amelia was alright, if there was anything she needed, anything mama could do more for her. Miss Amelia touched mama’s arm, gentle as the wing of a bird when it strokes its feathers across the newborn in its nest – and that was all.

    The next day mama took the picture I had taken of Miss Amelia and Miss Camilla holding hands, and she hung it in the apartment, on the wall of the room where it could be seen. I told Ciana it was the saddest thing and we kissed again, and Ciana touched my breasts, soft as feathers, and I put my hand down the front of her pants, and we were both crying and both breathless with love.

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