11.15.2014 Journal Prompt

Photo by Garry Winogrand
Photo by Garry Winogrand

November 15, 2014: This is how we found her.

3 Replies to “11.15.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. The kids on my street, they used to spit at my feet and they said my mam was broken and could never be fixed. They said she was a wino and a slattern. They none of ‘em knowed what a slattern was, but they said it just the same. It was something they’d heard from the mouths of grown ups. They said my mam was a whore and a baggage and they din’t know ‘em words neither.

    My mam was all of those things they said, but she warn’t no bad person. She was broken, like they said. I don’t know as what it was that did that to her, but I catched her cryin some days, just to herself. She din’t know I could see her through the crack in her bedroom door. She was just sittin on the edge of her bed and she just cried herself to silence.

    She had a bottle of liquor ‘neath her pillow and when she’d done cryin, she put her lips to the lip of that bottle. It was like kissing to watch. I kissed a boy once. It was on the way home from school and he was holding my hand and telling me stuff about who he was, and he asked if I’d ever kissed someone who was not my mam. Then he kissed me. It made me feel a little funny inside, like there was small white marshmallow mice doin cartwheels inside of me. Mam kissing the liquor bottle and I reckon it was something the same cos afterwards she was no more crying and she laughed and she turned on the radio and we danced about the kitchen with our arms about each other, dancing like crazy people.

    ‘Course one drink was never enough and she kept creeping back every now and then, back to her bedside, and she’d feel under the pillow for that kissing bottle. And later when, she was so filled up with laughing and her feet kicking the air, she dressed up nice and she tip-toed out. She said I was not to wait up, and sometimes I din’t.

    In the morning there was always a different guy sittin down to breakfast with us. Mam din’t hardly know his name, though he kept touching her under the table and she kept pushing his hand away. He put some money in a glass jar by the front door when he left and we never saw him again. It was my job to run to the jar to count how much he’d left and it was never enough.

    Then last night mam din’t come home. That sometimes happened. There was no one but me at the table for breakfast and the jar was empty by the door. I dressed for school same as always and I packed two thick doorstep slices of bread and jam into a box for my lunch.

    ‘Don’t you leave the house without you put a shine to your shoes, girl.’

    Even with mam not there, I could hear her voice in my head, making sure I was turned out right.

    ‘And brush your hair and your teeth now.’

    They found my mam later in the day. I got a visit from the chief of police. He came to my school. He said it was just like she was sleeping, ‘cept she wasn’t. His face was long as horse’s and his words was all soft and sorry. He said I was to go stay with my auntie Billie.

    These days the kids in the street, they don’t say nothing ‘bout my mam and what she was. They just look at me with the same look as the chief of police when he came to the schoo and was sorry. And the thing is, them looks on the faces of the kids, I reckon as how they hurt more than the things they used to say ‘bout my mam.

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