Captive

An enormous jar of marbles sat perched on a shelf in the depths of the basement closet. In the dark, damp and musty room full of laundry soap and tools, a jar filled with perfectly shaped orbs in riotous colors was held captive in an old Ball jar. She reached in and pulled the jar into a shaft of sunlight pouring through the basement window. She was below ground, sitting on the cool cement floor and enjoying the silence.  One small rectangular ground-level window provided a view of the deep blue summer sky. Outside, the day was filled with heat but the basement was nearly frigid. She held the jar up, using the bright blue sky as a backdrop. The sunlight caused those perfect glass orbs to come alive again. Their color returned.

She marveled that inside of the dusty long forgotten jar, a bit of magic had been caught and held hostage. Inside the jar, the marbles screamed for release. For sunshine. To be held in the hands of a child. To roll across the sidewalk and click against another once again. Inside, under that zinc lid and neglected in the depths of a basement closet, they were captive and forgotten. Possessed but unloved.

She heard her mother’s footsteps on the basement stairs, “Be careful those are Ron’s marbles and they’re very old.” That was enough of a warning. To lose even one of those marbles wasn’t worth his vindictive wrath. Once he possessed something, he made it clear that no one else was entitled to touch what was his. From experience, she knew that children were not immune to his spiteful revenge.

She turned the grimy jar and marveled at the stifled beauty within, “Why are they in this jar in the basement?”  Her question was answered with a shrug and look of confusion, as if her mother couldn’t understand why it mattered. She felt a wave of aversion, realizing that her mother didn’t recognize the disservice of capturing such beauty and hiding it away. She stopped asking questions, knowing she’d never get her point across but also realizing that the marbles were his to keep confined forever. And wasn’t she avoiding just that? She constantly bucked against his masochistic need to dominate what wasn’t his. Including her. She’d given up waiting for her father to rescue her. She realized, at fourteen-years-old, that she must fight her battle alone.

Spellbound by the marbles and his need to control, she spat on her finger and rubbed a circle into the grime of the Ball jar. Through that clean spot, the marbles gleamed. She stood and walked to the washing machine to retrieve a towel and polished the grime-coated jar. Once more, she held the jar against the rectangle of bright blue summer sky and slowly turned it. Inside, the marbles knocked against glass and clicked against one another, begging for release. I can’t help you, she thought, I can’t help myself. She slid the jar back onto the shelf and closed the door on the beauty that shone within.

This is a piece inspired by the photo prompt at The Lightening and The Lightening Bug. It is a memory. I don’t know what became of the jar full of beautiful marbles held captive. I eventually escaped.

Sometimes, it’s good to write about things other than “Mommy”… I am a writer, therefor I write what comes to me. If you enjoy my odd (schizophrenic) mixture of mommy horror stories and creative writing, please deliver a click on the annoying flashing box right down there. If not, click on the box to return to regularly scheduled programming…not really, but you will find oodles of cute mommy blogs, baby gear giveaways and people who really dig coupons.

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I Remember the Dancing Dust – A Writing Prompt

This week’s memoir prompt asked you to dig deep to find what, from your childhood, you still know from heart.

I still remember all those rhymes you did while slapping hands with a friend, like Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack all dressed in black black black.

What do YOU remember? 600 word limit

The parking lot’s gravel crunched beneath my feet as I followed my father toward the door. The mid-day sun threw a glare off the rear windows of the handful of cars parked outside the quiet building. I wondered why this place was always our secret. He’d slapped my knee in the car and given it a light, tickling squeeze. “Remember…don’t tell mommy that we came here, K-Belle.” he instructed. Why wasn’t I supposed to tell Mommy? Through the screen of trees I could hear the cars on Route 6, but we were hidden from view in the parking lot of this dead end road, cloaked by the trees that seemed eager to help keep our secret. I would do anything for him, anything to stay with him forever even if it meant lying to my mother.

He pulled the door open onto a darkened room. From the outside, I could vaguely make out the tables and empty red vinyl chairs. The familiar smell of stale cigarette smoke and beer wafting into the daylight reminded me that this was a tavern. My sneakered foot crossed over the threshold and entered the cool, darkened cave of a room. To the right I saw the long bar with its rows of bottles lining the wall. A yellow-haired woman stood behind the bar, tending to a handful of men, each sitting alone and hunched over a glass. I knew who they were. They were the nice old men who suddenly talked to me in the voice of Donald Duck after they’d gone to the bathroom two or three times. Their faces bore silvering whiskers and deeply lined creases. Their good humor seemed forced and unreal. There was nearly always one who would speak to me through reddened eyes full of water. He’d lean in too close, too eager to ask me questions that didn’t make sense and I would wonder why his eyes were so filled with tears that never fell. Was it my fault? Was it my presence that reminded him that he was lonely? Was he sad because his little girl wasn’t sitting at the bar next to him?

Those men bothered me with the way that they waited until my father left for the bathroom to approach me. I’m sure that their intent was to care for the little girl sitting at the bar alone under the temporary care of the barmaid, but they left me unsettled. When I spotted a man who had the potential to become too interested in me, I always chose the barstool on the other side of my father, creating a barrier against men with rheumy eyes. Why was it that I was always the only one who noticed them? Everyone else seemed to look through the watery ghost men.

I knew one of them would keep me rich with maraschino cherries and orange wedges while I sat with my daddy. Sometimes, they’d buy me a Shirley Temple and tip their hats in my direction. I learned to hold my drink up and say thank you, like all the ladies in the bars did. I didn’t want to stand out.

When I was a little girl, I spent a considerable amount of time in bars learning to play pinball and read the words in the jukebox. This piece is an excerpt from the memoir I am working on in my MFA program. It is only a portion of what I so vividly remember.

If You Only Knew

Hey everyone, I need to interrupt my post to bring you this news.

Katie over at Chicken Noodle Gravy just dished about No. 7! In all seriousness, I am incredibly flattered by the feature that Katie wrote. Head over and check it out and while you’re there take some time to explore Katie’s blog – she’s a wonderful writer. Chicken Noodle Gravy is one of my absolute FAVORITES!! Thank you so much, Katie! I’m floating somewhere up around cloud 9 right now…

We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming…

How many times a week do you figure you want to run away? I don’t think I’d be exaggerating if I claimed that I want to abandon ship at least once during a 24 hour period. I’ll go ahead and say it, out the seven days in a week there are likely at least five (or many more) minutes per day in which I’d like completely disappear.

 *POOF!*

Truthfully, in those dark moments I’ve wondered if my family would even notice or regret my untimely departure. I don’t think that they would and I’m not sure that I’d blame them.
Last month, I survived a week of school vacation without a husband for the better portion of said Hell…er, I meant to say school vacation. By the time I was attempting to muddle through the eighth day of solo parenting, I was cracking. Mount Vesuvius had sprouted on my left cheekbone, along with some freshly carved lines courtesy of a week-long frown bender. My voice had taken on that raspy, Marge Simpson quality as the result of yelling.
Sometimes I think my vocal cords might be permanently damaged. I’ve run to hide in the bathroom and wonder if my children’s memories will be composed of a red-faced, screaming freak they called ‘Mommy’.



image courtesy Google image search

Any remnant of what was once pretty and toned is quickly fading away. Gwen is absorbing all that once was. She flips and twirls her long hair while I come to terms with my new pixie cut. We perused some photo albums this week, the ones that contain mostly pre-children photographs. “Oh Mommy!” she said with a breathy sigh, “You used to be so beautiful!” Gee, thanks…I think.

I stepped out of the shower one morning to find an audience. There they were lined up like judges minus the score cards. “Mommy, why is it grey under your eyes?” “What happened to your toenail polish, Mom?” “Hey, how come your butt crack sticks out of your jeans when you bend down?” “Don’t you wish your hair was long and beautiful like mine?”
I slowly turned and faced them with my blackened eye-bags and chippy toenail polish and, without words, gave them a look that made them run away. Then I went to find some pants that didn’t expose ass cleavage and I cried in my closet. 
I sobbed because I felt trapped and resentful. I sobbed because I don’t earn my own paycheck anymore. I sobbed because I’m tired. I sobbed because I feel like a hamster on a wheel, doing the same thing every single day. I sobbed because I felt guilty for sobbing about all of these things.

If you really knew me, you would know that sometimes I fight the urge to run.

Mama’s Losin’ It Note: I’m not losing my grasp on sanity. I wrote this in response to Mama Kat’s weekly writing prompt. I chose “If you really knew me, you would know that sometimes…”

Daddy, Please Come Home

Growing up, John Lennon and The Beatles always seemed to be playing in my house. I grew up in the 70’s. My parents had each and every album. They were played often and they were played loud. I first heard the word ‘fuck’ when my mother neglected to turn down the volume as John screamed that filthy, forbidden word. I was scandalized and thrilled. I sang Yellow Submarine at my kindergarten musical. I thought Lovely Rita, Meter Maid was about my godfather’s wife. I discovered the depth and emotion of John’s lyrics right around the time that my own tumultuous adolescent emotions burst forth. Right around the time that I gave in to the darkness that would over-shadow my life on and off right up to the present day.

I remember my father playing this song when I was small. I thought it was awful that John would scream so publicly about his mother. Later, as I grew older and my emotions were raw, I came to understand this song. At least, I understood what it meant to me.

I haven’t listened to this song for many years. Gone are the days when I would play it and allow my feelings of abandonment and anger drag me under. Though, I heard it today and relived my old pain for just a moment. I felt sorrow for the girl who was left so alone to face her demons. Mostly, I missed John.