Posted on December 15, 2015 by Patricia Ann McNair12.15.2015 Journal Prompt Photo by Robert Doisneau December 15, 2015: This worked. Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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She said she was lost. Lost like she didn’t know which way was up and which way down. And she certainly looked lost. We was sitting in the park on a day when no one else was sitting and there was space between us. I kept starting in with things, just saying anything so as she’d stay a while. I told her how kids in Peru, they is sometimes lost. Like their parents can’t afford to feed ‘em no more so the is taken to a strange city and the mom and the dad tells the kid to wait at some corner of noplace and then the parents just catch the bus back to where they came from. Lost.
She just dipped her head like she understood.
And there was this girl, I tell her, and she was maybe fifteen and she was sleeping in our backyard this time. We got a shed there where I keep tools and next years’ bulbs waiting for planting and old newspapers I aint read yet. And this girl was sleeping in the shed, using the newspapers like blankets. She was lost, that girl, and like a frighted animal when I took a day off work and found her asleep with the mice on the floor of the shed.
‘Lost yer way?’ I asked her, the girl in the shed. She nodded. Her skin was pale and smeared with dirt and creased, and her hair all matted and anyhow so she looked a whole lot older than she was. I called Julie down from the house – that’s back when there was a Julie – and we got that girl back on her feet. ‘See, lost is just a step away from being found.’
The woman in the park was just staring ahead and I wasn’t sure she was really listening.
Once, I saw these kids, a whole class of ‘em and they was crossing the road and it was a serious business. Up front was the teacher calling on ‘em to keep up and another teacher at back, and each of the kids was hanging onto the coattails of the kid in front – that way none of ‘em could be lost, or if they was lost then they was all lost together which at least don’t feel like being really lost.
Not that kind of lost, she said.
My turn to nod and I started in with something else. How my old man, he lost who he was. In the end he did. He just didn’t know nothing. Who he was even and who I was. He looked something the same, maybe a little smaller with all the years pressing down on him and a little less colour to him like a picture that has been left out in the light too long; inside he was lost. About as lost as a man can be. He kept going on about a girl called Cath and the pretty she was and her tits small as lemons; Cath was my mom, ‘cept when she was standing in front of my dad – blushing at what my dad was saying about her tits – he didn’t know her, just like we didn’t know the Cath he was picturing.
She took my hand then, the woman on the seat in the park. Held it like it was something rare and precious and thin as soap bubble. And her voice when she spoke was small as whisper, and she asked me if I could just be quiet a moment and still and listening. I did like she asked and I could hear her breath underneath the sounds of the city at my back and the blood rushing through my head and the sound of my own thoughts telling me not to let go of her hand, not ever.