6.28.2015 Journal Prompt

Photo by Brassai
Photo by Brassai

June 28, 2015: At the end of things.

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2 thoughts on “6.28.2015 Journal Prompt

  1. When I look at my mom and my dad, well, it sorta frightens me, you know. They don’t have a nice or a honest word to say to each other, not one. Like two growling dogs they is, circling, and snapping at the tail of one another. Been like that for years, I reckon, so many I should be used to it. But, like I said, it frightens me.

    I try to tell Con ‘bout that and ‘bout what I’m feeling. He shrugs and he don’t pay attention none. I tell him it’s important and he just kisses me and his tongue in my mouth is all urgent and tasting of salt. And Con’s hands straight to my tits then, squeezing ‘em like they is soft fruit; and a little later, when he’s finished pushing himself into me in all places, well, he just lays back, looking a might pleased with hisself, and he says to me as how I could maybe do a lot worse than marry him.

    And see, that’s when I’m most frightened. There’s these pictures that’s kept in a old biscuit tin. Pictures of my mom and my dad, only they don’t look like they is now and not just cos in the pictures they is younger. Dad’s as thin as a whiplash and mom is pretty and straight and there’s a look on her that it aint easy to say what it is and a look on my dad the same. The pictures belong to another time. Dad says they was taken way back, before ever I was a twinkle in his eye, and his face is all soft when he looks at ‘em and his eyes a little wet.

    In ‘em pictures there’s mom and dad holding one another, or dancing to no music, or just standing and looking at each other – and though they is all in black and white, there’s such a warmth in ‘em.

    ‘The whole world was black and white back then and we didn’t know no better. It was ’bout the 1950’s before colour was invented.’

    I aint ever seen my mom and dad dancing, or holding each other like in the pictures, or looking soft and smiling. And that’s what frightens me and frightens me on a whole different level when Con says that ’bout him and me marrying. Cos I love him well enough, I think I do, and Con says me and mom look sorta the same – by which he’s meaning the pretty mom I show him in ‘em old pictures; and I think Con’s like my dad, a little – not the cap or the coat, but the soft way that he looks at me when we’re done fucking. And well, I don’t know if it’s sufficient.

    I ask Con, when he’s laid back on the bed and he aint wearing a stitch, and he’s looking all smug and saying that about us getting married, I ask him if one day we’ll be just like my mom and my dad and we won’t neither of us have a good word to say to each other and we’ll sleep like ‘em in separate beds and not ever touch each other.

    Con just laughs and he says he can’t ever keep his hands off me and he don’t think that will ever change. Then he just closes his eyes and breathes deep and he sleeps, sleeping easy; and I watch him sleeping, sifting through the things Con has said, sifting not for the glister of gold but sifting for the hard dark grit of a lie in his words.

  2. Mam says endings is just as important as beginnings. She says sometimes endings is maybe more important cos they stay with you long after. And sometimes she says there aint no difference between beginnings and endings.

    There was this man, see, in our street and things wasn’t good for him, not nohow. For a while he was all the talk on corners and in shop doorways, ‘bout how some marriages aint exactly made in Heaven but some is made in Hell. And his wife, a small pretty women, and they said she was seeing someone else when the man’s back was turned. And oh the stories that was spun out of all of that, all spit and spite and spice, and the storytellers doing the spinning said it was nothing short of the truth what they said, but saying something and it being true don’t make any of it a virtue and don’t give the telling any justification.

    The long and the short is that the man got to hear what was said and he done killed hisself. The pretty woman came home one night and he was hanging from the loft hatch like a side of pig in a butcher’s shop. And our mam said that was no way to end things, cos there was a boy, see, ‘bout five years old, and he was the first to find the man, his da, hanging heavy and creaking from a old bit rope. That was years back now, and the boy is almost a man hisself and he’s a surly bit, always punching the air and kicking out, and he don’t have a good word to say ‘bout nothing and no one, and especially not ‘bout his mam.

    But our mam’s not talking ‘bout that boy and his suicide-da when she’s talking ‘bout endings being important. She’s talking ‘bout Vic. Mam tells a story ‘bout when she was a girl and it don’t seem like that time could ever have been. Our da chips in and says she was the lead in every man’s pencil, every man for miles around. I never knew what that meant till I was grown. And mam was in love with a boy called Victor, only everyone called him Vic.

    All this was before our da and our mam was together, and Vic was da’s best friend back then and so it’s ok to tell the story – da don’t seem to mind none that it’s ‘bout Vic and our mam. And Vic is something in the telling, a piece of work is what he is, all the rough edges rubbed smooth so he is better than any man ever was; and Vic and our mam was in love. Mam don’t say just that, but it’s obvious. Our mam says they was walking out together and our da winks and grins and pulls hard on his cigarette.

    Well, this Vic went off to fight in the war and our da did, too. And mam tells how they made their goodbyes one street-lit yellow night and the air as cold as knife-blades and just as sharp. And Vic and mam standing in the street and she was sorting his scarf and saying how she’d wait for him so he’d better come back, see. And Vic shook his head and he laughed. And he said to mam that he couldn’t make no promises ‘bout coming home and coming home whole. He said it was best that they let things go for now.

    He didn’t even hold a picture of our mam tucked in his pocket and he left her with nothing, not even a hope to nurse. Didn’t even kiss her goodbye on that sun and ice night. Just shook her hand, like they was almost strangers again. And he said his goodbye, saying it like it really was a goodbye.

    It was our da that came back from the war and the rest is just a different story. And our mam says there was an ending, and something of dignity in Vic’s last goodbye, and permission in what Vic said for our mam to love our da when the grieving was done.

    Best way to look at it, our mam says, is that endings is only beginnings in different clothes. Like that man as hanged hisself, well, that was the sad beginning of his own boy’s anger at all things. And Vic saying his goodbye like that, well that was the start of what is between our mam and our da – beginnings and endings, they is so close they is almost the same thing, and our mam says they got to be right.

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