One Reply to “8.7.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. Daddy said I was unclean now. That I was shop-soiled goods. That I was second hand. He said it through the clench and grit of his teeth. He said it through hold-back tears and all his words like dry swear words. Mam said nothing.

    Mam held her hand to her breast, as if feeling for the muffled beat of her heart, as if she was not sure she was still alive. Her face was all pinch and pain and her eyes as sad as drowned kittens or hanged puppies. It was if it was mam that’d had lost something.

    Daddy ran his fingers through his crow wing black hair, and he sucked in air as though he held a straw between his lips, and he shook his head. I thought of the magic eight ball and when it gives you an answer you don’t like, then you can shake it again and it gives you a different answer – one you can live with. And I thought my daddy was looking for a different answer.

    I wanted to say it was nothing and no one need know and it’s just what girls these days do and these days not like their days, not like the days of daddy and mam. I wanted to shrug and say they were making mountains from molehills. Instead, I kept quiet and I dropped my head.

    For, if I tell the truth to myself, in the dark of my room and under the covers on my bed, so no one can hear, and talking the truth in whispers like it is something sacred and something for church, then the truth is that it is something and everything. And I call Caleb ‘bastard’ and ‘cunt’ and ‘cur’ for what he did – what we did – all his honey-sticky words and his fiddling fingers and his breath hot as fever. And didn’t I undo the buttons for him, on my dress, scared he’d tear something? And I shifted my hips so he could take down my panties, and that was like dancing to slow jerky music. And I sighed and I moaned, even when it hurt a little, and then it did not hurt at all, though Caleb was heavy and pressing on me so I could scarcely breathe.

    I look at her, at mam, silent by my daddy’s side, and I am shrunk to a plea for her help. Surely she understands. Surely she knows. Didn’t she tell us once how she stuck her hand into a nest of bees and her finger scooping out torn scraps of comb and honey dripping like gold from her fingers and the fizz angry bees stinging her arms and it was the best honey this side of heaven is what mam said and she’d brave those pins and needles of bees again for one spoonful of that honey. Surely mam understands.

    And daddy beats me with his words, goes on beating me, and his words as hard as sticks, willow or birch, hard as fists only he won’t hit a woman or a girl, and he don’t give up till he’s done and every part of me is bruised. Then he pulls mam inside with him and he shuts the door heavy and hard against me and I am alone, and more alone than being lost in the bluebell wood by myself and singing to birds and squirrels for company.

    I take myself off to Rickett’s pool and I strip to my slip and I step down into the cold dark of the water. It is sharp as glass when it is broken, or knives new-honed, but it is not sharp enough for me. I wade in, dropping to my knees and my arms wide as though embracing a lover and letting the water cover me like a shroud. And I feel it scouring my skin, wanting it to make me clean again, clean enough for my daddy so he can have a daughter he can live with and so mam can have heartbeats in her ears and she can stop touching her breast and looking hurt. And I am dissolved then into tears and salt dissolving in the water of Rickett’s pool so no one will ever know.

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