11.12.2014 Journal Prompt

Image from The Way We Were
Image from The Way We Were

November 12, 2014: If she put it in words…

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One thought on “11.12.2014 Journal Prompt

  1. Lindsay

    ‘If it’s just a thought in your head, it aint goin nowheres. You gotta give it shape and set it loose in the world. Like prayin. That’s the whole point of your time here on this earth, I reckon. It’s to be givin wings to things and lettin them fly up to the heavens. And who but knows, maybe God is bountiful like the minister says and just maybe prayers can be answered.’

    The minister – his name’s Sean and his hair is beginning to leave his head and he rubs Watkins White Cream liniment into his knees each evening before turning in and he reads his Bible before putting out the light. He’s a good man; he’s God’s man. That’s what my mam says. It wasn’t always like that.

    Once the minister was young and all the girls in church praying he’d look their way during service. Or after, and he’d bless them by name and he’d lay one hand gentle on the head of this girl or that when he did. It was like being touched by God himself.

    ‘Like God speakin when the minister says your name,’ said Amy Bunting. ‘It makes me feel all funny inside. Like my soul’s turnin somersaults in my tummy.’

    Amy Bunting and she’s married now, two kids, and she don’t ever go to church these days and neither does she pray for the minister to have her name on his lips.

    Smells of lemon soap, the minister’s hands. Or they did back then. And his breath smelled of mint imperials. He kept a white paper bag of them in a pocket under his cassock, the paper as soft as thin cloth, and he was always sucking on one of those mints. I can recall the sound of them clicking against his teeth.

    ‘Maybe prayers can be answered,’ the minister used to say. ‘If you are honest and true and you give them up to God.’

    And mam says the same. But she also says to be careful what you wish for, and wishing is the same as praying only without the church. And Amy Bunting once prayed for the minister to lay his lips down on hers and God did breathe life into her prayer. But kissing was only the start and Amy was just fifteen and didn’t the minister break all God’s laws with what he did after church on a Sunday and Amy calling his name then and breathless in her calling. A whole month of Sundays the same until Amy stopped going to church and she was quickly married and some do say her firstborn has the minister’s blue eyes.

    But Amy wasn’t the first or the last and I wonder, all these years later, if there’s a thought in her head that is the sister of the thought in mine, a wish that is kin to my prayer.

    ‘If it’s just a thought in your head, it aint goin nowheres,’ my mam says.

    And so, each night before I lay me down to sleep, I kneel by my bed to pray. Ten years now and I have been doing just that. And my knees are cracked and bruised like the minister’s knees and the turpentine smell of Watkins liniment stings my eyes. And I give my prayers wings, like mam says I should, and I send them heavenwards, the one prayer said over and over. But Sean, the minister, though his bones crack when he climbs the stairs and you can see the pain in his face each time, still he breathes, and so my prayer waits to be answered.

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