2 Replies to “7.9.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. She believed in the sea. It spoke louder than her Jamaican mother. The sea told her wave by wave to always take a risk. It didn’t matter if she almost drowned. The sea would always deliver an anchor to hold on to until the right person came along to carry her back to the shore.
    She believed in the sea because it was the one place she could hear truth at any time of day: when the sun rose in the morning and when the night stars blinked at night. Truth was ever present. All you had to do was touch it with your eyes. It was the one thing she could depend on in this part of her life. This part of her life which seemed like a revolution gone mad.

  2. She’d lived by the sea when she was a child. So close it was a constant sound and the smell of salt on all her clothes and in her hair. And licking her arm she tasted salt and sharp and sting. The view from her bedroom, she recalls, was just sea and sky and the place where they met and bled one into the other. And the days back then were long and slow and with an easy rhythm to them, sitting for hours or longer, just sitting and listening to the hushed whisper of the waves kissing and kissing the shore.

    Then she went away and she does not know why that was. Everyone goes sometime, that’s how she explains it now. Everyone. There’s nothing there ‘cept the sea and the sky and old folks sitting in old chairs with spit in silver threads unspooling from their silent mouths.

    Maybe it was work, or a boy, or the firefly glimmer of city lights like all the stars had fallen out of the sky and had all fallen in the one place.

    She works in a diner these days, serving coffee and pie to truck drivers and delivery men. It’s up on Rockefeller and Vincent. She wears a pink gingham overall that flares out from her waist and her name on a badge pinned to her chest. And the guys there are always touching her, like she is something they own, their fingers on the back of her hand, or their thighs rubbing against her as they pass. And they call her sugar or honey and she doesn’t ever say that she minds and that way each week she makes enough in tips to buy a bottle of gin and that helps her forget.

    These days the sea is so far off, and tall buildings shut out the sky at every turn, and the sound of cars and buses and trucks is a dull unceasing thunder in her ears. Night-times, too. Some nights she takes a guy back to her place and they drink too much and they make out in her bed all grabbing and blowing air and in too much of a hurry to really care. And in the morning he does not know her without her badge.

    ‘I’ll call,’ he says, backing out of the door, and she doesn’t ever believe that he will – not any of them.

    On her window ledge she keeps seashells and bits of sea-glass that when lifted to the light shine like jewels in blue and green and yellow. Sometimes she puts a piece of the glass in her mouth. Its surface is pitted and rough, the edges so smooth they have lost their cut, and still, years on, she thinks she can taste salt.

    Once a week she climbs to the roof of the tallest building in her neighbourhood, climbs up into the sky almost. Still she cannot see the sea or hear it or smell it. She takes with her one of her shells and she holds its open lip to one ear and she closes her eyes and listens as hard as listening can. And there it is, as far back as memory goes, the faint breathless shush shush of the sea.

    ‘I believe in you,’ she says then. ‘I believe in you.’

    And a part of her does, and a part of her doesn’t. She thinks one day she might go back there and grow old sitting in a chair and nothing to say, only listening. She thinks she will. Maybe.

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