Posted on August 22, 2015August 22, 2015 by Patricia Ann McNair8.22.2015 Journal Prompt Image from We Need to Talk About Kevin August 22, 2015: We pretended not to notice. Like this:Like Loading... Related
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There’s a picture. Just the one. And we’re all together and mom looks tired cos it’s the morning after Keely was born. Next door’s Billie had been looking after us while mom was in the hospital and she’d said for us not to worry and she said for mom it’d be like shelling peas she’s done it so often. Only it was harder than Billie said and you could see that in mom’s face the next morning when we visited.
It’s a shame Tate wasn’t in the picture, too; he was behind the camera and we showed him how to press the button and hold everything breathless still. And he did the job just perfect. Keely’s all wrapped up like a loaf of bread, and she’s asleep so you can’t see the sky in her eyes or her hands closed into small fists or roses. But it’s Keely all the same – Keely and mom and all the rest of us and Tate missing.
Mom was in a hurry to be home and she’s looking out of the picture like her thoughts are already elsewhere. And the rest of us is arranged all anyhow, me and Drew pushing to be closest to the new baby, closest to love. It’s the only picture we’ve got of Keely – Keely Elizabeth Wall. Heck, I don’t even know if mom’d registered her after it happened cos she sure as hell couldn’t have done it before.
Billie from next door, all proud tits and legs that walk wavy, well, she can drive and she’s got a beat up truck that she uses and so we all fitted in and she drove us home – mom sitting up front with Keely in her amrs and us in the back. Billie saw us settled in the house and she kept asking mom if there was anything else she could do and she kept fussing over the baby and saying she was beautiful. She had mom’s eyes, Billie said, and Drew’s dark hair and Tate’s angry hands and my button nose and little Alex’s lips so pretty they was made to be kissed – and Billie kissed little Alex and he made a sound like he had a bad taste in his mouth and he spat onto the carpet and we all pretended not to see.
What Billie didn’t say is what Keely got from her dad and that’s because Billie was fucking my dad then, and even though mom said it was good riddance to bad rubbish, it was still a sensitive matter.
We all walked upstairs after mom to Keely’s room. It’d been painted weeks before and there was new curtains at the window and a new carpet so everything smelled shop-nice. And mom’d saved up to buy a cot with a new mattress. Keely looked so small in that cot – small as thoughts are small. And I wish we had a picture that showed that, but Tate said there’d be time enough for pictures and he said it was late and the light wasn’t quite right.
The next morning, Keely sleeping and mom crying and calling to her to wake up and Billie brought through from next door all in a flap and I could smell my dad on her, sour and salt and sex. And the doctor came soon after, and he shook his head and he said it happens and it wasn’t nobody’s fault and he said he was sorry and he wrote Keely Elizabeth Wall on a certificate and she was registered dead before she was registered alive.
And we only got the one picture – the one Tate took in the hospital – and mom’s tired and looking away and me and Drew are sitting awkward and close to the baby and little Alex is close to his mom and Tate’s missing; and you can’t even see the sky in Keely’s eyes cos they is closed nor even her hands made into fists or roses or her hair dark and hid under a knitted woolen hat.