3.27.2015 Journal Prompt

Image from The 400 Blows
Image from The 400 Blows

March 27, 2015: In spite of everything…

One Reply to “3.27.2015 Journal Prompt”

  1. He ain’t my daddy so what do I gotta listen to him for? He ain’t nothin more’n my mammy’s bit on the side – or maybe she’s his. And she’s always kissin him and puttin her hand into his pockets like she’s lookin for small change or big money, which she ain’t. Actin like teenagers, they is, and he has a look on his face then, like he might be in pain or suckin a lemon. And what for do I gotta listen to what he has to say?

    I hear ‘em through the wall some nights and they is ridin the bed like it’s a untamed horse and they is tryin to break it. And mammy is callin on God or Jesus, and she’s saying ‘fuck’ over and over; and he’s saying ‘yes’ and ‘yes’ and ‘yes’, like she just might stop what they’re doin.

    In the mornin he looks like he’s just found a winnin ticket and he scratches ‘tween his legs and he don’t feel no shame that I am there when he does it; and mammy just looks tired and like she ain’t fully awake, and she groans a little like somethin is broke in her. And I say under my breath how maybe they could turn it down a bit tonight so the rest of the world can get some sleep.

    Then today, he catches me kissin a boy called Trip. Just kissin is all, and huggin maybe, and holdin our clothed bodies ‘gainst each other. And he gets all worked up and he says how I’m just a girl and how he’s got a duty to look out for me. Fuck him.

    And he strikes up a regular match, and it flares into sudden hissin flame, and he holds it close to my face so I can feel the heat, so I can smell the sting of sulphur in my nose when I breathe in. And he lets it burn almost to his fingers before he blows it out, his lips pursed into one side of a unpretty kiss. Then he says as how a match once it’s burned can’t ever be lit again, see.

    He thinks he’s bein clever. He thinks he’s onto somethin with his burnt match idea. ‘Course, I know what he’s meanin, but I pretend not to understand. He sucks in air and his face is all screwed up and for a minute he’s lost for words and like he might just punch somethin.

    ‘You gotta value yourself more, girl,’ he says at last, all his words rushin. ‘You gotta keep what you got and not give it away to the first guy as asks for it. You gotta wait till the time is right.’

    Like I says, he ain’t my daddy and I don’t reckon I gotta listen to what he’s tellin me.

    He drops the burnt match to the floor and he touches my cheek, strokes it gentle as if he might be goin to kiss me or somethin. And he says I am pretty, like it’s somethin he’s only just noticed, and he says I am pretty as fuck and his voice is all whisper so I’m the only one as hears. And he pushes my hair slow behind my ear – which I don’t mind admittin sends goosebumps down the back of my neck – and his face looks all soft and slack and silly.

    I’m a little frightened then – maybe not frightened exactly, but tremblin, and wantin him to take his hand off me and wantin him to keep it there both at the same time. He says my name, like he isn’t really sure it’s me.

    I don’t know how long we stand like that before I pull away. I tell him he’s a fuckin prick and he says I should watch what comes outta my mouth and he says as how I should be a little more respectful. But there ain’t no conviction in him sayin that and so I just go up to my room, not like a storm, but somethin quiet.

    I shut the door behind me and I lock it. And in the mirror I look at who I am, and I touch my cheek like he touched me, and I brush my hair behind my ear, and I say my name, small as a whisper, same as he did. And then I say ‘fuck him’ again, only this time I don’t think I really mean it.

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