One Reply to “8.22.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. When she left, we didn’t pay no heed. She’d left before. More times than I can tell and she always came back, so her leavin again wasn’t no big news. Mam left on account of pa. Things was somethin wrong ‘tween them and she’d go off to her sister’s and she’d be gone a few days or once it was a week and we’d all just get on with what we had to do.

    ‘She’s gettin her head together, is all,’ pa’d say and we never knew what that meant but we nodded and we accepted it as explanation enough for why she was gone.

    She always packed a small suitcase of her belongins. Clothes mostly and the book she was readin and an extra pair of shoes. If we wanted we could go see her at Aunt Colleen’s. Pa said we could, if we wanted, but we never did.

    ‘Best let sleepin dog’s lie then,’ our pa always said, and so we just waited for her to decide to come on back. Which, like I said, she always did.

    She packed a small case this time and she took clothes and some jewelry and the book she was readin and a spare pair of shoes. But it wasn’t like she was really gone – it was just like it always was. There was dresses hangin in her wardrobe, and shoes all arranged in neat rows at the bottom. And bottles of perfume on the dresser and tights dryin past dryin on the radiator in the bathroom.

    But this time she was gone for the longest time and ‘ventually pa got a lady in to clean up the house Mondays and Thursdays and nobody talked about mam bein not there. Days shifted into weeks and weeks into months and no one said nothin. Then, just ‘fore Christmas we got a card in the post and it was addressed to us all. It had a robin on the front and snow on a old kettle and holly showing red berries like bright jewels. And there was a picture tucked inside the card, a picture of our mam. She was on a beach someplace with her hair blowin all ways and mam squintin up at the camera and smilin. In the card it said she was sendin us love and she was thinkin of us all.

    It became a regular thing after that, for birthdays and special days, and there’d be a card sayin the same thing over and over, how she was sendin her love and how she was thinkin of us, and a photograph of our mam in some place new, lookin straight at the camera and always smilin.

    We pinned those pictures up on the kitchen wall, dozens of ‘em, like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle of our mam and her new life. Pa said it was good she was still smilin and he said she was smilin for us, for me and Lucy and Paulie. I didn’t really think pa was tellin truth when he said that, but I kept my thoughts to myself.

    In the pictures I could see bits of the person she was with, the person takin the pictures of our ever-smilin mam. His shadow was fallen on the sand or his half empty glass sittin beside mam’s glass on a table or his jacket thrown on the back of a chair. I looked real close into those pictures and that was the real jigsaw puzzle, the mystery of who she was with and who was keepin our mam from ever comin back home.

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