2 Replies to “9.11.2015 Journal Prompt”

  1. I been running my whole life, seems like. Leastways, ever since mom died and the lady from social services smiled and told me it was gonna be alright. Only it warn’t right. Not by a long stretch. Not though they found me a family with a big clean house and food always on the table and everyone smiling alla time and everyone nice as sweet pie. And I felt like I din’t fit in cos I was always doing things wrong and they kept telling me – how to hold my knife and fork, and how I was not to say ‘shit’ when I was cross, and not ever to wear my clothes in my bed and certainly not my shoes.

    I ran away from there, running till my lungs almost burst, and my arms sore from carrying the stuff that was mine. And I ran without knowing where I was running to and only knowing what I was running from.

    They caught up with me ‘fore too long. A cop with a easy smile and he called me lil britches and he said I was a might young to be out so late, and there was a big ole moon smiling down like it was some sorta shit joke.

    It was a different lady from the social services came then but her words was just the same and she called me sweetie and she said it was gonna be alright and she asked me what was my reason for running away. I shrugged and kept all my words locked up in my mouth. She din’t like me not saying nothing so she tried speaking to my rabbit, which was stupid cos the dumb rabbit is just a toy my mom gave me and it’s only got one eye and it falls limp as lettuce into my arms. The lady held it up and she said as how it looked well-loved and she asked if the rabbit had a name and if it could maybe tell her what was what ‘bout me running away.

    They put me back with the family as was nice as sweet pie, but I ran away again. And again and again. They took to locking the doors and windows of the house, but I waited my time and soon enough I was running fit to lungs bursting again, the toy rabbit in one hand and a plant my mom cared for cradled in the other.

    That was years back and I been to so many different families since then and even to a home where there was other girls like me and they’d lost their moms too. And every time I just get so fed up with the rules that there is and I take off. And sometimes I’m gone for weeks and when I’m back, they say they is all worried ‘bout me and worried for what has happened to me and they ask where I’ve been and who I’ve been with and they is meaning was there a man touching me in all of this.

    And I’m running again today. And it feels like my whole life I been doing this. And the lady from the social services – all the ladies – they just shake their heads and don’t get nowhere with their questions to me ‘bout why. And I don’t tell ‘em that ‘fore my mom passed we was running even then – running from men mom had fucked and stole money from, and running from all our yesterdays, and running into our tomorrow. And mom said then as how tomorrow would always bring the promise of a better day and so I keep on running, year after year, and I just can’t help it, and it’s like I’m running after mom and the promise she talked ‘bout.

  2. First time I ran away I was maybe six or seven. Knee-high to a duck is what my mam woulda said. The road was hard under my feet and being so hard I saw I’d forgotten to put on shoes. I walked by the side of the road then, in the cool wet grass, far enough off I could not be seen by cars passing. It was early and the sun was just coming back to the sky and the cars still had their lights on and the day looked like it might be friendly.

    I’d packed a bag of things I didn’t want to leave behind. Books and my favourite cup and a toy that was special to me cos it smelled still of my mam when I pressed it over my mouth and my nose. The bag was a weight on my back. Biscuits, I’d packed too, and a glass bottle of orange juice with a green foil top and I hoped the bottle would stay upright and not leak. The lady at the home, she might miss me, I thought, but I didn’t think no one else would.

    And just when I was thinking that and feeling all alone in the world – which is different from feeling lonely – that’s when I saw it. In the road and laid out flat and ragged crows trying to unpick it from the surface. It was a fox and it was a bloody mess, all its bones crushed and its pink insides turned outside. Only its head still had some shape to it, the black leather snub of its red nose and its white bearded chin and one eye glinting like a special coin.

    I shooed away the crows and they bounced like torn balls away and looked at me as though I was the one that had done something wrong. I sucked in air and started to cry. Right down to my boots, my mam would have said of that crying if she was not dead and buried in a hole in the ground in the churchyard.

    I felt sorry for that fox and I didn’t want it to be laying in the road with a hundred cars driving over it, or a thousand. And not just cars, but trucks and buses, and tractors maybe, with wheels the size of sheds. So I did what the crows were doing before and I unpeeled the dead fox from the road and pulled it by the bush of its tail into the grass, saying sorry and sorry and sorry over and over.

    I crouched down by the side of the road and dug a hole then, as much of a hole as I could with a broken bit of stick and a sharp stone, dug till my arms were sore and heavy as sleep; dug it deep enough it could take the fox all curled up with its tail laid over it like a blanket and one of my favourite books put beside it. Then I covered it over and dragged a heavy rock on top. I kneeled down then and said prayers, like they did when they were burying mam.

    The lady at the home was the only person that afterwards believed me and she held me to her, tight as no breath, and she cried and she said I was a dear and she said I was never to run away again, not even to bury no fox or no rabbit or any other creature besides. And she said what would my mam think if she knew, and I know mam don’t think nothing cos she’s dead, so I run away from time to time and I think that’s ok.

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