Posted on January 21, 2015 by Patricia Ann McNair1.21.2015 Journal Prompt Image from Blind Child January 21, 2015: It was time. 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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ALL IN A TIZZY
I don’t know why I’m her friend. It just happened. She’s blind and she needed someone to help her and I guess I needed to feel useful; and then, of course, there was Amy.
The blind girl’s name is Tizzy and I don’t even know what that’s short for. We met at school. The teacher, Mrs Jennet, asked for a volunteer to look after Tizzy and I didn’t volunteer. Amy did. Amy took Tizzy’s hand and she led her around the school making sure Tizzy didn’t bump into things, and Amy talked to her the whole time, like she was narrating her whole day. She was a bit fanciful in what she said, but the thing is I had this thing for Amy and I was a little jealous.
In class they held hands, even when there was no need, even when Tizzy was sitting and just listening to the teacher. I could see their hands under the desk and holding tight one to the other, or Amy stroking Tizzy’s palm as though it was a sick pet she held, a rabbit or a kitten.
At the end of the day I went right up to Tizzy and I said my name and how I was really pleased to meet her and I said as how if ever she needed anything she was just to ask. I took her hand to shake it and I held it a bit longer than an introduction should be. But the thing is, I wasn’t really saying any of that for Tizzy; it was Amy I was saying it for.
That’s how we came to be, me and Tizzy. And Amy, she just let go of Tizzy’s hand one day and she went off with Bobby Martin and she held his hand instead and I was jealous then of Bobby. And I was sort of stuck with Tizzy.
Tizzy ain’t pretty like Amy and she speaks with a lisp and none of her words sing or dance like Amy’s. Mrs Jennet, our teacher says it is a good thing I am doing and she put an extra gold paper star next to my name on the chart on the wall. Mrs Jennet made a fuss of me, too, and she said I was a good soul and an example to all. I blushed and held my head low, but I could see Amy looking and smiling and that at least was worth the public embarrassment.
And one day after school, I walked Tizzy home same as usual, and her ma asked me in for fresh lemonade. I thanked Tizzy’s ma and we took our glasses of lemonade up to Tizzy’s room. It was all neat and ordered and Tizzy just knew where everything was. She turned the radio on and there was a song playing and the window was open and the air was warm and sweet and still. Tizzy took my hand and we started dancing. It was silly and easy. We were close enough I could smell the soap on Tizzy’s neck and I leaned in and just kissed her.
I don’t know why I did that when it was Amy I was thinking of. I don’t know why I kissed Tizzy.
Tizzy kissed me back. And I never expected that. I don’t even like her, which I know sounds all wrong with her being blind and all and Mrs Jennet saying I am a good soul.
Then there was just music between us and an awkwardness that was difficult to read, like Tizzy knew I hadn’t meant to kiss her. She promised not to tell no one and I promised the same. I drank my lemonade and left.
And now I don’t know anything, not about me and Tizzy, if we are friends still or something more or less. Not about Amy and the feeling of butterflies in my tummy when I think of her and how that feeling got all messed up when I was kissing Tizzy and imagining it was Amy. And not about souls and how they are either good or bad. Now I don’t know anything.
APPLE PIE AND KISSES
Sometimes I hates her. More than I hates wasps and spiders. More than I hates nettles or thorns. And I wishes she’d never been, which I know is a terrible sin, and so I kneel long at Sunday prayer askin forgiveness for these thoughts, kneelin so long my knees is red and sore from the hard stone. The minister misreads my prayin and he strokes my hair and he says I am special in God’s eyes.
But I don’t want to be special in God’s eyes, cos then he’d pay partic’lar ‘ttention to all my spit and spiteful thoughts. And he’d smite me down as he did Jehoram who had done evil in the world ‘gainst his own brothers and all in the sight of God. I want to go unnoticed.
I’m talkin ‘bout Linny and I don’t unnerstand why it is that God did not give her eyes to see with. He gives every creature that is low and crawlin eyes that see the world and all its boundless beauty, and Linny is sweeter as honey or strawberries and she never does wrong under Heaven.
I heared once that her not havin eyes was on account of ma’s sin and it was said that ma don layed down with the minister when he was still young and new to the town. I heared she was like a bitch-dog in sweatin heat when she set eyes on the new minister and she was ever in church with a plated dinner for him, and bread new-baked and wrapped in cloth, and butter new-churned and patted into pretty shapes.
I don’t reckon to truth in any of that, cos Linny is the double of our da. She has his flat nose, and her hair is wiry the same, and red as rust just like da’s. And she has a crooked knee yes as da does, when the minister is straight as a willow and his hair is dark as crow-wing. It don’t make sense what people say ‘bout Linny bein the price of ma’s sin.
And ma says I’m blessed compared to Linny and I gotta be grateful for that and give thanks. But then she says I gotta be Linny’s eyes in this world and Linny’s to hang on my arm all the time and that way she can be safe, and I am charged with lookin out for her every step.
In school today, I was passed a folded note in class. The paper was hot and soft, like it had been held in the hand for long. The note was from George Binns and he’s so damned pretty an angel might sin with George. And in the note it said he thought I was pretty as peaches or kittens and he said he’d give a slice of apple pie for just one kiss and another slice jes to hold my hand on the walk home from school.
So I hates her, hates Linny, more than beetles or slugs, more than nits or gnats. And I hates her cos she can’t see for herself and cos I can’t collect on the slices of apple pie that Goerge was promisin, and most of all cos I can’t be kissin him like he wants and that’s somethin I been prayin for most nights and so I think maybe God is tormentin me like he done with the ‘Gyptians when they would not let his people go and he sent down a plague of frogs and flies and locusts upon ‘em. I think God is tormentin me the same and I so I pray some and I hold my breath waitin for the next sting or stone to hit me.
LOVE IS BLIND
It warn’t for Katie. The note what I wrote. It warn’t for her, though she is pretty some and I’d kiss her easy for a dare and hold her hand if’n she wanted to. No, the note was for her blind sister, Linny. I reckon as she is the pretty one. Like I wrote, pretty as peaches or kittens.
I see ‘em sometimes, jes walkin from school, and Katie’s step is heavy and flat. But Linny, and seein her trippin after her sister, and it’s like she’s dancin to no music and her feet so light it’s almost like she’s floatin ‘bove the ground. Jesus, I go all poet when I think on her and all my words come out soft and silly as a girl.
It was da’s idea ‘bout writin a note. Sort of, it was. I was tryin to talk to him ‘bout what was in my head. Da ain’t so good with feelins and maybes I shoulda been talkin with ma. Da was sittin back lookin over his garden, the peas all in rows and spinnin into disorder, and the carrots lookin neater, and taters the same. Da was smokin a cigarette and he was blowin grey smoke rings into the air. He was pleased with hisself and so I thought the time was jes right.
I sat down aside him, watchin the sun goin down, and I cleared my throat a coupla times, like I’d a mind to say somethin important, but the words jes stuck in my mouth. And da says for chrissakes and he says to me to jes spit it out and it was like he could read my thoughts.
I asked him about ma and how it was when he jes met her and how he told her that first time that he loved her. Da laughed and his face was all soft and sag and his eyes cloudy like he was lookin far off. Then it was his turn to clear his throat and he sat up straighter in his chair and he waved his cigarette stub in the air like he was shooin away flies. And he said he warn’t exactly brave or nothin; he jes wrote ma a note and he slipped it into the pocket of her dress, bein like the opposite of a thief but with all the same care so as not to be caught.
So, I wrote the note, tellin Linny she was pretty and askin for a kiss and askin to hold her hand on the way home from school. I was real nervous ‘bout lettin go of the note, kept it in my hand till the paper was soft as cloth and I worried then that the words might rub off the page. That’s when I passed the note to Amy and nodded for her to pass it on to Linny, ‘cept she passed it to Katie.
I feel like a darned fool now and Katie keeps lookin at me and smilin and blushin, and I jes know she’s thinkin ‘bout kissin me and holdin my hand on the way home from school. And blind Linny don’t know squat, not ‘bout nothin and not ‘bout what I’m feelin, which is like itchy and dizzy and sick all at the same time. Yep, like a darned fool and that’s fact.
NOT SO BLIND THAT I CAN’T SEE
Ok, so I is blind, but that don’t make me stupid. Not no how. Not though everybody thinks so. And I see a lot more than they think I see, even though I ain’t seein with my eyes. God, they is sometimes so blind some of ‘em. Blinder as me, for sure.
Katie, and she’s my sister, and if’n I hold her dear it don’t stop me from thinkin she’s not all good. Oh, she does her duty like she’s told to. She takes my arm and she leads me to school and back again, and she’s careful enough with me. But I hear her speakin under her breath, cussin ‘gainst God sometimes, and I know by the weight of her hand in mine that she’s feelin bitter ‘gainst me. And I get it, I really do.
And the minister blesses her on account of Katie’s always prayin, but I know she ain’t prayin for the poor or the lost. I know she’s prayin for herself. I hear her before she gets into bed. I hear her on her bended knees and her hands pressed together like the closed pages of a book – that’s what she’d like to think, ‘cept I hear her every small breathless word. I know that George Binns is in her prayers most nights and she’s thinkin ‘bout what his kisses might taste like and what his hand in hers will feel like. And sometimes she touches herself in her bed, touches under her nightdress, touches her diddie, and she whispers George’s name when she does it and she sighs or moans like she’s tastin the sweetest pie.
I may be blind, but I know stuff. Secret stuff. I know Katie’s not in George’s thoughts, not for a minute or a moment, not ‘less it’s with me by Katie’s side. He sent her a note today. She keeps it in the pocket of her dress. The paper is soft still and it smells of sweat and dirt. I can’t tell what the note says, but I can guess. Amy asked Katie if she was gonna kiss him, by which I knowed Amy meant George, and I think maybe that was in the note. That was a puzzle at first on account of I know George wants to be kissin me. I can hear it in his voice when he fetches me my bottle of school-milk in the mornin and he sets the bottle in my hand and his fingers touchin mine and he is as gentle as though he is touchin thinnest glass or a new-hatched chick.
‘Thank you, George,’ I tell him for the milk, and under his breath he says it is nothin, and then when he thinks he is beyond hearin he says how it is also everythin.
I feel sorry for Katie. How she has to look after me all the time and the mistake she sleeps with in thinkin George sent a note to her sayin how he wants to kiss her and hold her hand or touch her diddies. I feel sorry for the bitter she feels ‘gainst me most days and all the prayin she does after to make that bad thought be forgiven by God. And I feel sorry for the note I wrote George without Katie knowin – a little sorry, at least.
I wrote a note of my own, see, and maybe the words was a little crooked on the paper, though I tried my best. And I said how kissin would be fine, thank you very much, and holdin my hand some day would fine, too. And tomorrow, when George fetches me my milk and everyone thinkin he’s doin it to get closer to Katie, I’ll slip the note into his hand and no one will know, ‘cept me and George, and we’ll see what’s what after.
I may be blind, but I reckon ain’t half so blind as them as can see and I feel sorry for ‘em then.
Note to readers of the above: ‘All In A Tizzy’ stands on its own and has no connection with anything else. The last three pieces, however, hang together and are about the same three characters: Blind Linny, her sister Katie, and George who is loved. I borrowed Amy from ‘Tizzy’, not to make a connection but just out of laziness.