Posted on September 4, 2015September 3, 2015 by Patricia Ann McNair9.4.2015 Journal Prompt Image from In Treatment September 4, 2015: In the shadows… Like this:Like Loading... Related
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He said we should talk, and so we sit in the front room where the brightness of the day makes shadows behind the furniture, and he sits across from me and holds the silence. I hate when he does that. He said we should talk, and now he hoards his words like a miser and he waits for me to say something.
‘Talk?’ I say.
He nods and stays purse-lipped and I shift uncomfortable in my seat. I do not know what it is he wants to talk about and so in my head I run over all the wrong I have done, the wrong that he might know. The extra I paid Livi for the work she does about the house and I tucked a few dollars more than we were agreed upon into her hand and I said it was our little secret and Livi smiled and I kissed her. Or the bread loaf I gave to the woman next door and hadn’t Carlos said I should not even give her the time of day. Or the visit I made to the church on Wednesday and he does not approve of God nor does he have truck with time wasted on prayers.
‘Talk about what?’ I say.
He clears his throat as if he might speak and as if he might have big things to say, but he stays silent, and I consider then the things he should not know but somehow might. Like when I kissed Livi and I put one hand to her breast and her breath came short and quick and she kissed me back, kisses wet and hot and salted. And that was our real secret and the real reason I paid her the extra. Or the woman next door, and her name is Rachel and she is almost as good as God at listening, and she says I should leave Carlos and she says life is too short and she is old as hills and so she should know. “I might have left, but I faltered,’ she tells me, ‘and now it is too late and all I have is regrets and they taste bitter on my tongue.’ I gave Rachel the bread as a kindness and it was a sweetened bread with sugar and almonds and cinnamon all folded into the dough, and I hoped it would take some of the bitterness away. Or Wednesday at the church and I was on my knees and praying before God and before Father Aurelio and I dared to make confession of my love for Livi and confession also of the man Carlos is when he closes the front door against the world. And Father Aurelio blessed me and did not say what I should or should not do.
‘You said we should talk?’
And the bright day puts shadows behind all the furniture and Livi is crouched in those shadows somewhere, and Rachel crouching there, too, and Father Aurelio and God. And all of them whispering to me, and a silence stretched to breaking between me and Carlos so that the whispering is like shouting in my head.
‘I am sorry, Carlos,’ I say at last. ‘For everything.’ And what I mean is that I am sorry for what I am about to do and not for what I have already done. Carlos does not know that yet, how could he for I have only just found out myself?
He nods and holds still to the words he might say.
‘I’m sorry,’ I say again.