Still by A.W.

Posted on December 24, 2015 by


It’s a sweet Connecticut spring afternoon, full of the promise of summer. Branches of green oaks and maples lift in the breeze, reaching out to the sky. I watch them from my bed, through the little window, think about where birds fly to when they fly away from their nests. Voices again, growing louder, rise from the other end of the apartment. A sharp yell, like a bark, makes my small heart beat bird-wings inside my chest. I climb down from the bed, slide my feet along the worn wood floor of the long hall towards their voices, louder and louder. I turn the corner and see there, in perfect, golden light, my father, pinning my mother down on the bed. He holds her by the shoulders and screams into her face. “You’re crazy! You’re crazy!” It is all off kilter and wrong. Even at three I understand the scene is sideways. Something like a peach pit lodges in my belly and stays there forever, a reminder that the world isn’t quite OK. There are no rules.

My mother sees me then, over in the corner. Her face crumples like a silk blouse. As if the spell of fury has been broken, they collapse. My father rolls over onto the bed, looks away from me. My mother tries to pretend she is fine, reaching for me and smiling through her terrified tears, but I back away. I want her to hug me and erase this memory, but I already know it’s going to stay.

Bammie appears magically that evening, taking me out for a strawberry Fribble. I decide to sit right next to her in the booth, not across as I usually do, my leg squeezed against hers, close enough to feel her warmth and smell her almond face cream. I finish the huge glass in one long sip, and still I am not full.

Posted in: Still