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Comfort and Joy

And now it's thirty years later; she's almost 40 and she is lonely and sometimes she shakes her head and she wonders, Why, why, why am I so lonely? And then she remembers why.
It's Daddy. She buried him five years a go. And good.
She showed-up early in the morning and asked the diggers, if she could help. And they let her.
She took off her heels and shoveled dirt till the end.

Back when the summer shone everyday, she would run around or ride her bike, or swim in the lake with her friends, or run into the bush and meet up with Tyler Johnson and she would let him kiss her and she would let his tongue slide around all inside her mouth, or sometimes, she would just hang-out with her brother.
However, he was mean, as brothers can be, and he would do mean things to her- like hold her head under the lake’s water too long or practice his karate moves on her-and she would cry to her Mom, "Make him stop." But she never would.
No one ever listened to her. That's what she thought.

Into the middle of the night, the Christmas lights that covered the Johnson's trailer would shine too, and she could see them from her bunk, at bedtime. She would watch them blink on and off, and sometimes she would squint her eyes, so all the colors would blur together. She loved the lights.
She loved the Johnson's trailer. It was shiny in the daylight too. Mr. Johnson had spray-painted it bright green and yellow and he called it his John Deere. And that would make Daddy snort. He said the only thing Mr. Johnson ever farmed was pot.
But she knew that wasn't true. Drugs were not something good people did.

On Independence Day, there would be a street party and the park would light up, everyone was merry and red. Dancing and laughing. To Bruce Springsteen. The Doors. Duran Duran. Olivia Newton-John.
She thought it was the best time.
Until the year Daddy punched Mr. Johnson in the mouth. It was late, like 10 o'clock and she was tired and she almost did not believe it. But her Daddy did it.
And some of the folks even clapped.

Tyler met her in the woods the next day anyway.
"I'm sorry 'bout what my Daddy did." She did not even say hi.
"It's not your fault," he said. "Your Daddy knocked out one my Daddy's teeth."
And she could feel her body fill with shame. She was gonna cry.
"No-no," he said, grabbing her shoulders. "Don't worry, Emmie. Look at me. He's all excited about gettin' a gold one."
He hugged her.
And that's when they heard, "Get your filthy hands off my daughter.
It happened so fast.
Tyler let go and Daddy rushed him.
And Tyler fell. His head cracked open on a rock
And she couldn't or wouldn't scream.
He grabbed her by the arm, "We gotta walk outta here."
And they did.
And no one ever blamed Daddy.
Not even Mr. Johnson.

Comments

Phoesable said…
no one writes a nugget of a story like you, Q. you totally carried me all the way through.
Whoa Pink! said…
You never let me down.
GetFlix said…
Intense.

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