11.29.2014 Journal Prompt

Photo by Peter Lindbergh
Photo by Peter Lindbergh

November 29, 2014: Something about how she stood…

3 Replies to “11.29.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. Mom, she worries ‘bout stuff. The smallest things sometimes. Like when Mrs Klinker was having her baby and she was taken to the hospital late and no one had opened the curtain on Mrs Klinker’s windows. Mom worried ‘bout that – not ‘bout the rushin to the hospital and the baby comin late; mom worried ‘bout the curtains not bein open.

    ‘You keep the curtains closed when it’s dead someone is, not when they is more alive than they has ever been afore.’

    I was sent over to Mrs Klinker’s – she keeps a key under a potted pink geranium on the third step up to her front door. Mom said I was not to disturb nothin, just to open the curtains in all the rooms. I took my shoes off at the door and crept through the house like a thief and I gently drew open the curtains like mom said.

    Mom worried over the milk that was left at Mrs Klinker’s front door on the days the woman was in hospital. I was sent to take in the bottles early doors, before the neighbours was up and ‘bout their business. I put the bottles into Mrs Klinker’s fridge, till there was no more room and then I took ‘em home to mom and she worried over the money she owed to Mrs Klinker for them bottles.

    She worries about our dad, too, and he’s been gone for nearly ten years. He lives with a woman half his age ‘cross the other side of the country and they got a family of their own and he don’t send no word ‘cept at Christmas. And mom worries if the card he sends is a little late. She stands at the bottom of the garden waitin for the post-boy and she asks him to check in his bag again just in case and he can see she’s worried so he quietly checks.

    And when the cat took itself off to have its kittens in peace, off to a dark place and cool and not easily found, mom worried then. She kept goin to the back door and callin in her sweetest voice and rattlin the cat’s feed dish. Six kittens that cat delivered and she came back a week after lookin pleased as punch.

    Worries ‘bout the sun comin up, and how much rain is fallin or how dry it is for May, or when she steps on a crack in the road and the bad luck that’ll bring. Spilled salt she tips over her left shoulder to blind the devil and she touches wood for luck and a dry rabbit’s foot she keeps in her apron pocket and that’s for luck too.

    So, today, when I come home from school, and mom’s standin in the kitchen door and she’s fillin the space and standin slumped, I thought she might be worried about the bread risin in the oven or watchin in case a pan of milk boiled over. Then I looked again and from the way she was standin I knew it was more than bread or milk and I knew then it was our Billy and mom’d had some news; I worried then.

    Billy, gone for almost a year and mom’s not been sleepin all that time. She listens with her ears sharp as pins and she hears every small crack and smack in the neighbourhood. She worries then about Billy and she prays for God to keep him safe over there. We get a newspaper delivered these days, just since Billy left, and mom frets over the pages of news about the fightin. Day and night she frets.

    And now she’s slump ‘gainst the door of the kitchen and from the shape of her, all crumpled and slack, I know it’s bad. Mom hears me come into the house and she says, her words all whisper and breath, that I’ve to close the curtains at the front. I creep, quiet as a thief like before in Mrs Klinker’s, and I pull all the curtains closed, and mom don’t need to say a thing more, not to me or to no one.

    1. Lindsay this is lovely. The image of closed curtains, death, and fear all blend so well together. You capture the image of the woman with the slumped shoulders with all her complexity. 6:04 am? Wow.

  2. David, thank you for your feedback – very much appreciated. Glad you like ‘my’ mom. I am writing in the UK so it was not 6.04 am here… wrote this in the middle of the morning, I think.

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