6.13.2015 Journal Prompt

Image from The Grapes of Wrath
Image from The Grapes of Wrath

June 13, 2015: He got lonely.

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4 thoughts on “6.13.2015 Journal Prompt

  1. There was days when mam was out of sorts. I could tell by listening. In the mornings when I woke I’d lay a while, just feeling what the day was. The sun might be breaking through the gap in the curtains, spinning dust into flecked gold; and birds might be singing in the apple trees outside my window, singing their hearts out; and the air was warm as breath all about me – but then I’d hear mam rising from her bed and I could tell from the weight of her foot as she took the stairs down to the kitchen.

    Some days she was light and tripping and they was fresh bread days cos everything was on the rise and warm and sweet. On them days mam might even give up a song, singing it to herself and God. A church song it’d be. And all the day’d be singing after that and on them days pa could do no wrong.

    But it was not always like that. Other days and mam’s foot’d be heavy on the stairs. Heavy like thunder is heavy. Weren’t no reason for it and weren’t no warning neither. With storms there’s always a thickening of the air and a taste of metal or blood on the tongue and the sky wears a darker dress. That way you know there’s a bad day coming. But it weren’t like that with mam.

    Her foot was just heavy on the stairs and it was already a bad day. She dropped pans in the kitchen and they made such a clatter. And cups or glasses she dropped, too, and she cussed against God then – for it was God as she blamed for her being so sudden dark in her thinking. And those cussing mornings the bread didn’t rise so high in the oven and it tasted a little bitter.

    And pa, he was just nowhere on them days. Not if he had any sense. Not less he was in the farthest off field, tending to the corn or shifting the cows or just being. Or sometimes he was in the barn, in back of the barn, where there’s a small window giving light to read by and the goats all curled up about him and the air smelling of dried hay and animal, and pa’d have a book open in front of him and his unlit pipe ‘tween his teeth and the day’d be long as Sundays.

    And us kids, well it was best we was out of the way, too. We’d creep from our beds and slip out through the front of the house, closing the door behind us and closing it soft as whispers. And we’d take us selves off to the swimming hole where it was cool as caves and we’d spend the day there, eating fruit from the trees if we was hungry and drinking water scooped up in the cup of our hands and drinking it so deep our heads hurt from the cold that it was.

    Then, when the day was going down, at last it was, we’d tip-toe back to the house and we listened at open windows or doors, listening for the sound of mam and measuring how it would be when pa came home for his supper. Sometimes the storm was all blowed out and mam’d be singing to God again; but sometimes there was no let up to the clattering pans and the air all cussed and bruised and mam snapping at every little thing.

    Pa said storms was just to be ridden out. He said the world was cleaner and brighter after a storm had fallen breathless again. He said there weren’t no good to come from complaining against the way things was and that we should allus just make the best of what we had. The bread didn’t taste so bitter after pa said that, but we ate in silence and we counted the seconds between pots clattering, like we counted the seconds between the roll of thunder and the flash of lightning, counting just the same, and waiting for the storm to spend itself out.

  2. Dave

    Very clean juxtaposition of human and natural storms, and pa knowing enough to stay away from either. I like the bread being less bitter from his words. Nice images, so quickly put together. Aren’t those human thunderstorms the worst, though!

  3. Thanks for reading this, Dave. Glad you liked it. As for the quickness of the putting it together – all of these pieces I write are put together quickly. I think I sometimes experience ‘flow’ when I write them and that makes them exciting for me and easy and so much fun. And my inner editor is asleep then.

    1. Dave

      What a great idea to let your inner editor sleep. “Take the day off,” as it were. I enjoy also letting the flow of the story guide me. Thanks for the comment

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