Posted on March 18, 2015 by Patricia Ann McNair3.18.2015 Journal Prompt Photo by Pedro Meyer March 18, 2015: They were so young. 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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It’s not what he wanted for me, he said, like he had some big plan. He wanted more for me, he said. More than he and mama had. More than his own mama and papa had. He saw me in an office, shifting paper and typing letters and wearing my hair like girls in the movies. And I’d be wearing dresses like those girls, too, and shoes that were like dancing shoes, and maybe even long white gloves – he saw that in a movie once.
I laughed when he said that about the gloves. It was an old movie I told him and no one wears gloves like that no more. He said I was missing the point which wasn’t the gloves but was the wanting more for me than he and mama had.
I asked him then if he was happy and if mama was happy, too. He ran his fingers through his hair and looked as though I had asked him to do hard maths. He sucked in air, held it in his cheeks and then blew it out slow and whistling.
I told him, in earnest, that happiness was all there was in this world. I said happy was like being always with god and being close to heaven, as close as heaven ever is on this earth. I said with Leandro I was happy, as happy as a girl could be.
Papa did not like Leandro. He did not like his hands big as spades and the way he walked down the street, which was as though he owned the very stones he walked on. And he did not like that Leandro worked unloading ships and sometimes there were no boats to unload so he just sat looking out to sea, and looking hopeful, and his pockets empty on those days.
Leandro, and papa said he was just a boy and he said Leandro did not have the sense of a goose or a goat and maybe in time that would come, but papa said I maybe should wait and see.
It was too late for waiting, I told papa. And he understood straight away and he was spitting nails for days after I told him and he said Leandro was no more than a rutting dog and if he saw him he’d cut off his balls and do the world a favour. And Leandro was not seen for a week, not until I could assure him that papa had softened.
And I recall the day, when papa and Leandro were reconciled, and they shook hands like they were at the well pumping for hard to reach water. And Leandro made promises then, promises to stand by me in church, and to love me always, and to love only me – and to love the child also, and to take responsibility.
I don’t think papa really believed him. He kept saying that I was so young. He says the same still, though it has been nearly a two years since then. And he says over and over that it’s not what he wanted for me. And he spits nails some days and the name of Leandro is a bad taste in his mouth. Leandro, who does not live up to his promises and he one day got on one of the boats he was unloading and he has not come back.
And mama says papa should look more for the good in things. And she holds the baby Alef in the air, lifts him above her head, and she says, ‘See how he is the sun in our sky, the sun in all our skies.’ And papa can’t help it – he smiles and he nods and his face is soft and he is happy; and I am happy also, and I tell him over and over that I am.