Posted on May 7, 2015May 7, 2015 by Patricia Ann McNair5.7.2015 Journal Prompt Photo by Shelby Lee Adams May 7, 2015: She was always there. Like this:Like Loading... Related
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When no one’s there, just me and the horse blowing air, then I can be myself. I swear sometimes, just a whole string of words that mam’d say was a sin if she heard and she’d wash my tongue with soap till I was sick. And swearing like that makes me feel better. And I punch the wooden wall of the barn and I kick an old metal bucket out of all shape, and I clear my throat and spit.
Then I am quiet and slowly the horse nuzzles my back and I breathe deep and slow, taking in the warm musty smell of horse and shit and hay. And I can feel my fists unclenching and a tightness leaving my shoulders and everything evening out. The horse can feel it too. And like that I am me again, all the pieces of me fitted back together.
But she’s there sometimes. More often these days than before. Makes me want to break things – bottles or plates or windows. She don’t make any sound at first, just creeping into the barn and standing close enough I can smell her mam’s perfume rubbed onto her neck.
Her name’s Molly and she’s so fucking pretty it hurts. Leastways, it hurts me – inside. Like when I was standing behind the horse once and it kicked me in the stomach and all the air was taken out of me. It didn’t mean no harm, the horse, and I been told enough times not to stand there like that. And it’s something the same when Molly is stood beside me smelling of flowers – the air just is kicked out of me.
She asks if the cat’s got me tongue when I don’t say much. If only she could hear all the thoughts in my head and the noise that they make, then maybe she’d understand how I don’t want to add to the noise, how that wouldn’t be helpful. Molly holds my hand in hers – which is funny cos her hand is much the smaller – and she says my name over and over like it is a song or a poem she has learned by heart.
‘When we’re both twelve and a half, will you promise to kiss me?’ she said one time. Molly’s a year and a half younger as me and so it didn’t make no sense what she said about us both being twelve and a half. But the kissing bit I agreed to. Then, once I’d given her the promise and crossed my heart, I couldn’t stop thinking ‘bout it and what it’d be like. And her being round all the time, well, I was like a knotted rope that is pulled and pulled so tight it won’t never untie.
And that’s why I swear when it’s just me and the horse in the barn, and why I punch the wall and kick the shape out of the bucket and spit like there’s a bad taste in my mouth.
I asked my mam if kissing was a sin and she said bless me and save me, it wasn’t. She said kissing was an expression of love and love was a gift from God.
‘Ain’t no sin in love when it’s pure.’
I didn’t ask ‘bout love when it wasn’t pure. I was afraid to. I was afraid that the love I felt for Molly was not the pure kind – why else would my mouth be so full of swear words after she was gone from the barn and I was alone with the horse again, and those words mam said was a unholy sin to say?