9.12.2015 Journal Prompt

Image from On the Waterfront
Image from On the Waterfront

September 12, 2015: She needed to tell him.

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3 thoughts on “9.12.2015 Journal Prompt

  1. He was always saying stuff. Like how it’d be when we was married and the life we’d have, which was no life at all if we stayed where we was. I just laughed and I said what everyone said – I said Teddy was a dreamer. And he laughed, too, cos he didn’t see no bad in people saying that about him, and I kissed him and touched his cheek, and though I didn’t need to, I told him I loved him.

    What I liked about Teddy was not his dreams, though just to kick back and drift in ’em, drifting in the sound of his voice saying what it could be, well, that was like laying on the warm surface of the sea and floating, arms and legs thrown out to make the shape of a star, and my head half in and half out of the water, the upturned bowl of the sky so blue above me and the sound of the water lapping at my ears, like music that was mine and mine only. No, what I liked most about Teddy was the risks that he took so that what we had seemed a little dangerous and a whole lot of exciting.

    He drove fast as trains and with all the windows of his mom’s car rolled down and the radio turned up loud as jukeboxes. Driving fast as bullets or blink. And he asked me after if I felt it, if I felt how close we was to touching eternity and our hearts beating with the stars. He was like a poet in those after-moments and all lantern lit-up inside.

    And he picked the pockets of drunk men, some nights, men big as trucks and with fists like hammers to break stones, and Teddy risking a beating if he was caught; and he didn’t do it for no other reason than the risk, cos he didn’t take no money out of those filched wallets but only posted ’em through the doors of the same men so they’d wake in the drum-beating morning and their wallet not lost at all, but found.

    And Teddy climbing in through my bedroom window when all the world was sleeping and creeping like a thief, only he came to give as much as ever he took. And he undressed and slipped into my bed, and his skin was cold as shock and he spoke in whispers and song; and I was undressed, too, and my skin warm as cupped breath or the breasts of nesting birds, and like that we was different and matched. And Teddy and me we was quiet lovers, and slow so our breath was never a blowing wind to stir my dad from his bed, and Teddy said he loved me deeper than caves or wishing wells.

    Then came the day he’d made plans for, he said they was plans though they sounded like Teddy dreaming again. He said he was high-tailing it out of this nowhere place where we’d lived all our days and our nights – some of those nights breathless and fizzing – and he said he was taking me with me and it was now or never. I was a floating star on the sea and drifting in his words. Teddy showed me the money he’d been saving and he’d maybe three thousand dollars in small bills, maybe four thousand. Enough, he said, enough to make a start someplace else. Been saving all his life he said and all for this moment and this moment had come.

    Only, there was something altered in me and in us. I hadn’t told him yet and was afraid to. He said we’d to go now or never go at all. I could see how much he wanted it and a part of me wanted it for him. He held his hand out to me and in another time I would have taken it and we’d have run screaming and laughing into the future and not care about the risks. Only, there was something in me now, the thief’s gift to me and the risk wasn’t just mine to take and so I held back.

    Teddy looked at me then like he didn’t know me, like I was a fallen star, fallen out of his sky – which I think is what I’d always been only he never saw it before. And he shrugged and made his leaving all look easy when I could see in his face it was not, and he left, looking back over his shoulder all the way. And I watched him go.

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