3.30.2015 Journal Prompt

Image from The Cider House Rules
Image from The Cider House Rules

March 30, 2015: When night comes…

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One thought on “3.30.2015 Journal Prompt

  1. Nighttime, mam puts out the lights in our room and she opens the curtains so we can see the half cut moon and the stars. And she has us kneel by our beds, Sissy and me. And she tells us we have to keep our backs straight, and our hands pressed palm to palm for prayer, and our eyes tight shut.

    Mam speaks for us then, speaking with God, and her voice not like mam’s voice at all, but in prayer it was all song and dance – like the minister’s Sunday-church voice. It was so beautiful I some nights did not think it was real, thinking it was just a thought in my own head. And mam making promises, promises for Sissy and me, promises to God that we would be good and kind and thoughtful.

    Da’s downstairs watching tv. I can hear the music for Gunsmoke playing and the clip-clopping sound of the horse, which da said was just coconut half-shells knocking together. And I can picture da, sitting back in his chair, the top buttons of his trousers unfastened and buttons on his shirt undone, too. He always eats too much of mam’s good cooking. Da sitting with his feet up and smoking a Player’s cigarette and blowing blue-grey smoke rings into the air. And like that he is almost a king.

    Mam’s voice calling on God to bless all manner of creatures – depending on what mam pulls out of her head. God bless kittens and mice and rabbits in the fields. And God bless cows and giraffes and foxes. No rhyme nor reason to the particular zoo she conjures and calling on God to bless them all.

    And at the last she asks for blessings on Sissy and me, and blessings on da downstairs sitting in front of the tv. And then we say Amen, knowing mam is at the end of her prayer by the pause she makes, and me and Sissy saying Amen almost together.

    I never dare to ask mam why God was not called on to bless her, why she did not ask God for something so small as that for herself. When we are tucked up in our beds and we can just see the stars or the sickle point of the moon, I whisper to myself, asking God to bless our mam, too.

    Then one day, and mam and the boy Kitteridge were seen holding hands at the far reach of da’s farm. Kissing, too, said Sissy, her voice small as hissing geese or cats, which is not so small at all. Kitteridge’s tongue in mam’s mouth, Sissy said, and more besides.

    Sissy, and she was out searching all the harried nests of robins and blackbirds and laying small round pebbles in those nests as comfort for the eggs that were stolen – and she warmed those pebbles under her vest first. And she was crouched down small as hedgehog ‘neath the hawthorn hedge and like that she was hidden and that’s how she saw what she saw: mam and the boy Kitteridge – though mam called him Col and her tongue played with the ‘l’ at the end of his name.

    Sissy, and once she said the moon was made of cheese and she showed me a stilton round and, though it looked something the same, the moon made of cheese was just silly. And Sissy said babies were bought out of Heaven and delivered to the earth by storks as big as postmen and they left them tucked under gooseberry bushes for to be found – and that was silly, too. So, Sissy saying that about mam and the boy Kitteridge, and he had his hand under her coat and mam was blowing air like an old cow that has been chased into the milkshed for late milking – Sissy saying all that and I thought she was just being silly again.

    Only, Sissy spoke true, because a week after and I saw them, too.

    Da was off to town selling a litter of piglets and with the money he made he’d be drunk for a day and he would not return home again ‘till he was sore sober, and mam and the boy Kitteridge stole hand in hand into the barn, sneaking like thieves.

    I was sitting with the goat and sitting quiet as prayer dark and like that they did not see me. They was in a sure hurry and I saw them do what the bull does when he’s put to the cows or the ram when he’s let loose on the sheep. Mam moaning like a pig in stuck labour and calling on God and Jesus, but not calling on blessings and nothing of song or dance in her voice, but breathless like she was lifting hay bales and lifting them wrong.

    I felt sorry for da when I thought about it after – da blessed by God in mam’s prayers but not blessed by mam, or blessed by his ‘prentice, the boy Kitteridge, who was learning cows and sheep and pasture, and learning a lot more besides.

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