One Reply to “3.12.2015 Journal Prompt”

  1. My daddy said hearing her sing was like being ‘mongst the angels. He said her music went right to the heart of him and he just wept. He said he thought he loved her and he woulda taken her into his house in heartbeat and he’d of asked my momma to leave if ever that was possible. He kept playing her records over and over till they drove us all mad and past mad so that in the end we liked hearing ‘em near as much as he did.

    Momma just laughed when he said that ‘bout taking Billie Holiday into his house and momma leaving. She said she wouldn’t need no help packing, no sir. ‘Deed, she said, there was a old suitcase under her bed and enough things in that suitcase that she could leave at a moment’s notice and she wouldn’t look back none neither.

    ‘Course they was just messing ’bout and we all knowed that. Daddy loved momma more than he loved anything else, sure as eggs or sunsets, and momma loved him back just the same.

    Sometimes I saw ‘em and it was late and Billie was singing her heart out through the gramophone and daddy and momma dancing slow and easy, and pressed together like palms pressing in prayer. And I watched ‘em like that and I knowed I was looking at love. And long after the music had stopped, and I could hear the crackle of the record turning and the regular click and click of the needle at the end of the record, long after and daddy and momma was still dancing, rubbing one against the other like the cat when it wants attention and it rubs itself against my leg.

    ‘Like being ‘mongst the angels,’ daddy said then, soft as whisper, and he kissed momma and they went upstairs to bed. You could hear ‘em through the wall and it was like they was riding a rough sea in a old boat, and momma calling on daddy, and daddy all blowing air and moaning. Even with my hands over my ears I could hear ‘em.

    That’s what gave me the idea. When daddy and momma was making their own beat-beat music, I tip-toed downstairs – though I don’t know why ever I tiptoed – and I put the needle back to the start of the record and I turned the volume up to its highest setting and like that it was just as daddy said – it was like being ‘mongst the angels. And ‘Strange Fruit’ she was singing and ‘Lover Man’. And it was with me like it was with daddy, and it went to the heart of me and I wept, and I wanted to hold Billie close and be rubbing myself against her like a cat, and telling her how pretty she was and how I’d take real good care of her if she’d let me.

    There was a framed picture of Billie on the wall, a gardenia in her hair, and I once took that picture down and I kissed her lips through the glass, and I kept my lips there till the glass was misted with my breath.

    If daddy and momma was still ’bout their business at the end of the song, I’d turn the record over and play the other side. If they was done and quiet, I’d lift the needle and put the record back in its paper sleeve and turned all the lights out. Then I’d tiptoe back to bed – and tiptoeing was the right thing then – and I’d slip between the sheets and I’d touch myself all over, touching under my nightdress, like I was an instrument to be played, and in my head Billie was still singing and I was breathless in love.

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