Posted on August 11, 2014 by Patricia Ann McNair8.11.2014 Journal Prompt Photo by Darcy Padilla August 11, 2014: She did her best. 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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She’s nobut a child ‘erself. All skin and bone and angles. Like she ain’t growed into ‘erself proper. Like she’s still got growin to do. She’s pretty, too, if you look with care. If you take a moment to really look. She’d be a damn sight prettier if she had the time to give to ‘erself like most girls do, with their soap smellin of roses and perfume behind the ears and their hair all kick and curl and blown, pretty enough and some if Lily wasn’t so tired all the time with lookin after the littl’uns.
Two under the age of three and she does her best for ‘em. She laughs and sings ‘em songs and tickles ‘em till they laugh so ‘ard they forget the pain of empty in their stomachs, laughin so long and so full that they break into tears and then slip easier into sleep.
Ain’t got two pennies to rub one against the other some days. Not a pot to piss in or a bean to her name. Livin off ‘andouts mostly. There’s Mrs Finch, dear and old, and she drops off clothes for the babies and she folds bread into the shirts, and fruit and small bars of chocolate tucked into the shoes. And money sometimes, when she’s some she can spare – small money mostly. And Lily says ‘Bless you, Mrs Finch’ and she cries and smiles and her face is all snot and spit and salt.
But Mrs Finch ain’t always there, so Lily sits on street corners some days with her empty hand lifted up like a cup waitin to be filled and she asks for any small change, please, look into your pockets and your ‘eart.
And there’s a boy called Fen and he’s been waitin for this day and all the Lily-on-the-street days, and he watches her from across the road, countin the pennies that drop into her ‘and, and they are never so many. And he fingers the money in his own pocket. He’s been and stole a few pounds from his mam’s purse, or he’s filched a few quid from his da’s pockets as he was drunk and sleepin, or he’s dipped into the till of a shop he works in and even though he knows the books won’t add up at the end of the week he’s taken somethin.
Fen and he finds the time to look at Lily and he knows the pretty she is and he spits in the street against the passers-by that don’t see and don’t stop and don’t put somethin into the cup of her ‘and – and Fen aches to see Lily’s uplifted palm and her fingers so perfect and so pale. And he says ‘er name, and ‘olds it close so only he ’ears.
He crosses the street to better see her – at last he does.
It’s dark enough by then, dark enough that the street lights are on and Lily is too much in the shadow to be noticed by the people ‘urrying ‘ome to warm fires and the droning of televisions and ‘how was your day’. And Fen stands a little closer, edging a step and a step, and without a word he slips the money he has stolen into Lily’s ‘and.
Lily closes her fingers over the folded notes, presses the money to her lips and kisses it, and hasn’t Fen done the same himself, so it is like she is kissin Fen – ‘cept she don’t know that.
‘Bless you, Fen,’ she says, her words breathless quiet.
Lily, nobut a child herself, ages with Fen, and in another time and another place, he’d take her ‘and and they’d talk of tomorrows and rainbows and ‘star light, star bright, the first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might…’ But this is ‘ere and this is now and Fen watches ‘er get to ‘er feet, turn and go, back to a locked room where ‘er littl’uns sleep, or they are awake and needin fed and they will be now thanks to Fen.