Chapter 1

Chapter 1

           The sky was like a drink of lemonade; it ran cool across my face and had the sweetest scent, but it left a bitter taste in the back of my throat. Then I watched the rugged clouds move by; all of them looking like they were dusted with charcoal. As the sun started to set, its rays exploded outward through the clouds highlighting the outside edges of them a golden pink color. Some of the clouds seemed like they didn’t belong. Like God had just plastered them there with his almighty hand without a thought. I asked him to myself about the clouds and the sky and why they’re there. I didn’t get an answer. However, I figured that he put them there as a part of his “seven day world making process” as said in the Bible. I talked to God a lot; prayed a lot too. I was still waiting for a sign about certain things in my life. Like when mama would stop yelling so much at me, or when would she finally give her hand a rest at the back of my head? She wasn’t always like that, but when she was I could’ve sworn that I saw the gleam of the devil in her eyes. Mama had been like that since papa left us when I was a baby. She smacked the back of my head when I asked about him. I did best to keep my mouth shut.

           Then there was the black lady who lived with us, Ruth, who I sometimes wished would be my mama because she never raised her voice at me. That’s when I asked God why she wasn’t married nor have any children. I tried asking her one time but then she grew quiet and her wise brown eyes became all somber like and she asked me never to ask her that again. Finally, the only thing left that I questioned about in my life was Johnny. He was the only boy who I ever thought I could be in love with. He was almost seventeen, about my age, with an indigo fire in his eyes (also like mine though I don’t think my blue eyes have any fire in them) and hair the color of a tree’s bark. When we were younger I remember him saying how he wanted his hair to be light and flaxen like mine because it reminded him of honey glistening in the sun except that it didn’t make your hand sticky when you touched it. I always ran my fingers through my hair whenever he walked by.

            “Virginia!”  I turned around. Mama was calling me from the door way, she had the screen door open and her hair was thrown up in a bun. Strands of fading blond hair veiled her cheek bones. Her green eyes were heating up quick and I knew if I wasn’t fast about it I was in for another beating.

            “Coming Mama.” I said. I ran into the house avoiding looking into Mama’s eyes.

            “I’d appreciate it if you change out of that dirty dress you’re wearing.” Mama pointed her finger at the dirt spot in the center of the skirt. “Go upstairs to you’re room and undress yourself; after Ruth helps you bath put on that nice blue dress you have.”

            “We going somewhere Mama?” I asked.

            “Yes, we are going somewhere.” she said. “The Walkers are having a get together at their country club and we’ve been invited.”

            “Mama, why?” I whined. “Those country club people are always looking down on us. They just invited us to make fun of us and make themselves feel so superior because they got money and we don’t.”

            “I won’t take any more of your complaining.” Mama’s voice was heating up. “Now you go upstairs and get yourself nice and pretty and we’ll talk when you come back down.” Although I could stand there and pout all I wanted Mama wasn’t going to budge.

            “Yes, Mama” I mumbled, and when upstairs to find Ruth.

            I found Ruth upstairs in my room folding and putting my clothes away in my dresser. She took one look at me and I could feel her understanding wash all over me.

            “Come along, child.” Ruth said. “Let’s get you cleaned up for the party.”  I nodded my head and started undressing.

****

           Ruth poured the warm water over my head leaving goose bumps down my spine. It felt real good though. My muscles seemed to release tension from themselves and were able to breathe again. However, I kept asking myself why mama wanted her and me to go to the Walkers’s country club.

            “Ruth?”

            “Yes, child.” Ruth began combing her cool fingers through my drenched hair.

            “Why does mama want to go the Walker’s country club? She never took much notice of them before.” Ruth paused washing my hair. I had a feeling she knew the answer to my question, but I also had a feeling she wasn’t going to give me an answer. Ruth always did try to stay out of the way of mama’s affairs.

            “I think she should tell you that.” Ruth said. “I’m not going to get in the middle of your mama’s plans.” That’s what I thought. Ruth poured more water on top of my head.

            “Do you know why Papa left us?” I asked.

            “Now you know I won’t get into that with you Miss Virginia.” Ruth’s voice was as stern as a school teacher.

            “I want to know.” I said. “Mama will hit me if I bring it up again. It has to do with me, right? He left because he didn’t want me. I bet they wasn’t even married when I was conceived. I always had a feeling I was a bastard child.” Ruth then took a hand full of my hair and used it to whip my head around so I could look into her round, black eyes.

            “Don’t ever call yourself that Miss Virginia!” Ruth’s shouted, then lowering her voice said: “Ever!”

            “So papa did want me then?” Ruth wouldn’t answer me, but dried me off with a towel and told me to get dressed up and pretty like mama said. I would never stop searching for the truth about papa; never.

            I walked down the stairs feeling more like a doll than a person. However, I did like my blue dress; it was blue like robin eggs and had a full skirt and everything. Still, I didn’t like being put out on display. Mama was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs. She, too, got herself all gussied up. Her dress was almost like mine except it was rouge and she had her hair down. She was very pretty. Besides her temper, I can’t imagine why papa left her.

            “You’re as lovely as a lily.” Mama praised.

            “So are you mama.” I said. “Are we going to talk about why we’re going to the country club.” Mama held her smile and cupped my face in her hands.

            “I can see your pretty face now that all that hair of yours is pulled back.” I wouldn’t let mama distract me.

            “Mama….”

            “We’ll talk about it on our walk there.” Mama let go of my face and gave her attention to behind me. “Don’t worry about making dinner tonight Ruth. We’ll be eating plenty at the country club.” I spun myself around to see Ruth standing at the top of the stairs; a figure of mourning.

            “Yes, Ms. Waters.” Ruth said addressing mama.

            “Come here now Virginia. Let’s not be late.” Mama took my arm and both of us went out the door into the evening light.

Copyright to: poetofmidnight/ lfamily@surfglobal.net

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4 Responses to “Chapter 1”

  1. I want more….your poetry is showing!

    • Thank you so much!

  2. Good writing! Keeps a reader hanging on, wanting to know what, who and why…Really good character development.

    • Thank you!

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