2 Replies to “2.17.2015 Journal Prompt”

  1. Mam was always saying something was the last straw and she’d slam doors and sit in her bedroom by herself till the wind had changed or till da had gone out for a drink or till it was late and dark as coal scuttles and no one then could see she’d been crying, ‘cept Glyn always knew.

    Then one Sunday it was the final last straw and Glyn could hear his mam saying over and over how enough was enough. And she was bashing round behind her bedroom door, and opening and shutting drawers and cupboards, and swearing so as the air was bruised and purple. And she came out at last with her clothes all packed anyhow into a suitcase, and she took her toothbrush from the glass tumbler in the bathroom, and a pint bottle of milk from the back step, and she left. Just like that.

    Glyn’s mam moved into a house up on Walkingshaw Road, a house with a garden and a green door and a place to park the car if you had one. Number sixteen it was.

    Sixteen and never been kissed, Glyn’s da kept saying. Just like he said two fat ladies whenever he heard the number eighty-eight, or two little ducks when it was twenty-two he heard. But he was wrong with the sixteen, for Glyn’s mam had moved in with a teacher called Mal, which Glyn knew was French for bad; and a boy at school said they was up to more than kissing, Glyn’s mam and Mal. The boy said he heard ‘em of a Sunday, and their curtains was closed for all of the day, and they was taking the bed for a breathless gallop and Mal kept calling on Jesus and God and he wasn’t no church goer and he didn’t really want God or Jesus to be there in the room as witness to what Glyn’s mam and he was doing.

    And Glyn said it was none of the boy’s bastard beeswax and he bloodied the boy’s nose ‘gainst him saying more ’bout his mam, or anything ‘bout his da either, for there were things being said ‘bout him – how he couldn’t keep a dog to heel, or how he wasn’t the one as wore the trousers in his house, or how couldn’t satisfy hisself never mind a woman. Glyn didn’t always know what was meant by what was said, but he knew there was no good in anything.

    It’s just water off a duck’s back, Glyn’s da said, and Glyn thought he was saying something more ‘bout the number twenty-two and he’d be saying soon enough something about legs eleven, or clickety click for sixty-six, or doctor’s orders for number nine.

    She’ll be back, sure as eggs, his da said, and she’ll be back with her tail between her legs, and back like a bad penny. You see if she isn’t.

    But Glyn wasn’t so sure. He saw his mam some days – he sat waiting for her at her work most mornings, and he saw her before she saw him, and he saw she was walking lighter on her feet – skipping almost; and she was smiling at the day even when the day did not deserve a smile; and she was singing sometimes, and Glyn had never heard that in his mam before.

    She was pleased to see Glyn was there, and she gave him his piece wrapped up in white or brown paper, and money she gave him for sweets, and she kissed his head and she asked him if he was ok.

    Right as rain, Glyn said, which was something he got from his da and it made no sense to him at all but it felt as though it suited the moment. Right as rain, mam, he said, and that way his mam’s smile never slipped.

  2. It’s like he’s a boy sitting in a waiting room and he don’t know exactly what he’s waiting for. If I close my eyes I can see him that way: sitting in a room filled with old chairs and he’s the only one there, and the paint’s flaking off the walls, and there’s just the one picture and it’s the head of a Da Vinci Madonna, maybe the one from that picture called ‘The Virgin of the Rocks,’ and she’s looking out of her picture and she sees him sitting on a chair with his knees up off the floor and pulled to his chin, and like that she feels sorry for him.

    And sometimes I’m the same, like that holy virgin and feeling sorry for him. Well not holy exactly and not a virgin neither, but looking at him like he’s the future of all mankind or my future at least, and the future don’t look orange or yellow or any colour ‘cept black.

    You see, he’s damaged this guy that carries the broken boy somewheres inside him. And I know we is all damaged, but he’s like really fucked. And it used to be I thought I could fix him. Like he was a house with the windows all broken and paper peeling from the walls and a leak someplace in the roof. And I could get someone in and with time and care and love, then the house could be a house again with cats running about my feet and kids playing in the yard and bread baking in the oven so the air is every breath as sweet as Heaven.

    They all need fixing, men. That’s what I reckon and I used to think it was the job of us women to fix ‘em. So I told him straight, back at the start, and I told him as how we was gonna make it and I was gonna stand by him and he’d better believe that. He smiled and he kissed me and he touched me gentle as blown dandelion seeds and for a while the sun was out and he made me believe my bluff and bluster was possible.

    We had us a few good years, I reckon, and that’s maybe as good as it ever gets. We got the house and the cats and the kids in the yard. We got all that I said we could get and more besides, and he looked different. He looked clean and smart and like he was somebody. Happy he sorta looked, too. But inside there was no difference. Inside he was still fucked.

    He thinks I don’t know cos he don’t, but I know him better than anybody and I know him better than he knows hisself. I know he’s seeing a girl up Bridgewater Way and she’s pretty and her favourite colour’s red and she looks a bit like me when I was younger, so like me it’s scary. And I know he thinks with her he could maybe do things over and he could get those optimistic years back again, those years we had at the start when everything was new and he was blinded by the new and I was blinded by the possiblity.

    Yes, so he’s seeing this girl, and her name’s Caitlin, and by seeing I mean fucking cos isn’t it always ’bout fucking with men? And he doesn’t let on and I don’t neither, and like that it is everything I said – it’s as though he’s a small boy in a waiting room and a virgin mother is looking at him from out of a picture and she feels sorry for him in a way and at the same time she hates the hurt that he will be to her in the future. And I feel like I am that mother, all loving and hating at the same time, and I sometimes wish he’d never been born and I sometimes wish the waiting was over.

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