9.9.2015 Journal Prompt

Photo by Garry Winogrand
Photo by Garry Winogrand

September 9, 2015: She needed to tell him.

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3 thoughts on “9.9.2015 Journal Prompt

  1. I ain’t taking the blame for this. Not no how. I told him how it’d be and Ollie, he just din’t listen. I said to him as how there warn’t nothing for me to do and how I’d just go crazy waiting for him to come home at the end of a day. He was old fashioned and he said he din’t want for me to be working, no sir. He thumped the heel of his fist down heavy on the table and he said what kinda man would he ‘mount to if he couldn’t provide for his woman?

    ‘His’ woman, he said, like he owned me and like I was just some sorta thing he’d paid for. We got a pig in the yard and Ollie owns that. Paid good money for it and he says as it is a investment and he say it’ll grow fat as… well, as fat as a full fed pig, and then we’ll have us pork and bacon and blood pudding enough for a year. And I feel a little like that idle pig and already my waistline’s thickening and my dresses beginning to pinch.

    A woman’s place is in the home, he says, and he wrote it in blue crayon on a bit paper, all his letters drawn careful and studied like a child’s, and he pinned that paper up on the kitchen wall ‘case I might forget it. And it was good enough for his blesséd mama, so Ollie said it was good enough for me.

    He reckons that a lotta girls’d be pleased to be looked after so. He says all I have to do is keep a clean and tidy home and look pretty all the time and love him to brass bits when he comes in from work. I said it warn’t enough, and he looked all hurt like a boy, and he said he din’t understand how love was not enough, which was twisting what I was meaning.

    And there’s Jeff that delivers the groceries, brings ‘em to the door in brown paper bags as big as sacks. And Jeff ’s as welcome as sunrises and he remarks on how sad I look and he makes a joke out of nothing and says ‘that’s better’ when I smile. He comes twice a week and sets the brown paper bags down on the kitchen table. I pour him a glass of bottled lemonade cool from the fridge and he says he’s real grateful for that and he sits when I tell him to and we talk ‘bout this and that and nothing.

    And I ain’t taking the blame for what happened. Not no how. Not no way. A girl’d go plum crazy just staring at the walls all day with nothing to do but to plump cushions and straighten curtains. No, I ain’t taking the blame for Jeff kissing me that one time, kissing me sweet as custard, and me letting him, wanting him to, and it was like a song in my day after that; and now I can’t wait for Jeff to call again and I ain’t taking the blame for that neither.

    And Ollie says all I got to do is look pretty all the time and yet he don’t ever remark on it, not like Jeff does; and he says all I gotta do is love him when he comes home but he’s sometimes so dogged tired when he’s home that he ain’t always got the time for love; so I reckon as Ollie’s as much to blame as anyone and I want to tell him that, want to tell him everything, but where’s the point when he don’t never listen to me?

  2. She should tell him. How she is. How things are with her when she is alone. When he’s not there. And she does not ever feel really alone is what she should tell him. Feels as though there’s always someone there. Just there. Listening. To her every breath, in and out, and all her sighs and her heartbeats. Just listening.

    And she talks to walls when he’s not there, and she prays before them and lets out all her secrets, and she thinks she can hear the walls talking back to her, nearer than God but ungodly. Hears the lewd mutterings of walls, and they whisper to her things they would do if she came near and they are not holy or heavenly things.

    Mad as broke biscuits she thinks. Must be. Talking to walls is bad enough, but walls talking back to her! And not just talking, for she feels as though she is watched all the time, the walls leering at her at every turn. Leering like old men with their hands thrust down the fronts of their pants, holding their cocks that won’t ever get hard, and calling to old girls in the street. All bluff and bluster and their words silver spittle threads easily broken. And the walls the same. Come show me your titties, come lift your skirt, come kiss me with your mouth open. And so she undresses in the dark, just in case, and the slip and slither of cotton or silk against her skin occasions moans from the walls and quickening breath, and she showers in silence with the lights off and the curtains pulled shut.

    And she should tell him. She should. Let him know what’s what. Let him know before it’s too late. Give him the chance to walk away and not be tied to her forever. Only, it is not forever these days, not so long as forever nor so long as till death do us part, and walking away is so much easier. And so she has not told him yet.

    Mad as wasps caught in a shut box and the box shook so hard that the wasps don’t know which way is up and which way down and if you hold your ear pressed to the box you can hear how mad a wasp can be, fizzing like a lit firework, a hundred lit fireworks, all sting and stir and impotent in the dark. And she puts one hand against the wall in her bedroom. Sometimes she does. And lays her palm flat and strokes her fingers in a slow running caress. And the wall sucks and blows and it says for her not to stop and not to stop. And she laughs and takes back her hand.

    And when he is with her. There in the house. And he’s kissing her and telling her she is beautiful and she’s an angel and good. The walls hold their breath then, and she smiles knowing they are listening and watching. And the secrets she has made confession of, the walls are purse-lipped about them. And she takes soon-to-be-husband’s hand and puts it to her breast – to show she is not so good as he thinks she is, to tease the walls she knows are looking, to bring the man nearer to the truth of how mad she is.

    ‘Not before,’ he says, removing his hand as though stung. And he means not before the church and the special day and the minister’s blessing. And he kisses her again, kisses her like she is a child, and he smiles and moves from her, saying it won’t be long now and saying patience is a virtue, and God will give them strength, he says.

    And she does not tell him that she is mad as biscuits or wasps. That she touches walls with her fingers running, teasing, and licks them sometimes and laughs at the lewd things they would do to her if she let them. She does not tell him. Not yet.

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