The Memories of a Driftwood Girl: Short Story (6500 words)

I wrote this story in April 2008 and hid it away despite the fact that I was quite proud of it. When I dug it up the other day I actually had to type it up again because I couldn’t find a digital version of it anywhere (which means I don’t think I’ve shared it here before). But it was worth the effort because I’m still quite proud of The Driftwood Girl. I’ve bettered it a little, but tried not to change things too much. I might have written it differently today, but I think its worth preserving almost as it was written. She is strong The Driftwood Girl. I hope you enjoy.

Like seeing cherubs dancing in the twilight or a shooting star burning up brightly before fading away. Like the taste of sweet honey or seeing the day born by the horizon, turning red, then white and finally blue.

Like driftwood on the raging sea.

Poetry isn’t in nature but in the eyes of the beholder. Just like poetry isn’t in the memories, but in the remembrance.

Remembering is supposed to be easy. Information is supposed to move into you in layers and set onto your brain, unmovable. It’s supposed to be automatic and for  the rest of your life the information is there. A few things can disturb the process. A few things can make you forget. Some you look for, other’s are a plague. Alcohol, alzheimer and diseases of the mind are all things that can make you forget things, and apparently severe psychological stress can also cause you to forget things. It can interrupt the process even before they get stored in the memory banks.

Like cherubs dancing in the twilight.

My memory is a fickle thing. I remember but then I become unsure of the details, unsure of the consecution. That, in turn, leads to precariousness. Suddenly I’m unsure of everything. What happened and when? In what order? And most importantly: What have I forgotten?

I’m sure I have forgotten a lot of things, a lot of pleasant memories have vanished into the depth of my consciousness never to return.

Like a shooting star burning brightly before fading away. Dying.

The notion frightens me, but at the same time it can be comforting. The idea that someday the sequence of events will become clear to me along with everything that happened, even the things I may have forgotten, frightens me more than words can describe.

Like the taste of sweet, sweet honey.

I saw glowworms by the creek one night. I had walked aimlessly for an hour slowly separating myself from the clinging, invading sounds of the town by walking into the country where the bellows couldn’t reach me. I wasn’t escaping anything special. I believe I mostly wanted to get away from myself and my own thoughts, if only for an instant, but a quiet walk in nature certainly did nothing to help with my appetence. The glowworms lingered underneath a pair of blackberry bushes and I crouched down to get a closer look.

Like seeing the day born by the horizon. It turns red. It turns white. And then the sky turns blue. The hue so manipulative, so sweet like the honey. Hear the bees buzzing in the distance? Hear the thunder roaring in the night?

I picked up one of the worms and looked at it, but closer look revolted me and I dropped it on the ground carelessly. The abhorrence was clear on my face, I’m sure. My mind withdrew in disgust. And then repulsion turned into soft antipathy and sorrow. I had interrupted its life and left it to fend for itself in a different place. I picked the larvae up with the help of a small leaf and moved it to where I had found it.

The night was starlit, the air warm but still fresh.

Crystal clear and dark blue sky. You found a hedge in a field and you fell asleep. Dreamt of Tiger Lilies in harsh colours and a soft touch on your back which made you squirm in discomfort. When you awoke you ascended into your grandmother’s house and stole some of her red wine. You drank it underneath the dead old oak and giggled at the wind. You counted your years in fingers and toes but you had four to spare and you wondered what to do with the rest so you counted your siblings.

I walked further. Further into the night, into the wild and I wondered why I had been so disgusted by the worm. The glowing being had been so beautiful underneath the bush but in my hand it was just another strange looking insect. It was’t like me.

Oh, I remember the thought so well. Over and over it echoed in my mind. This isn’t like me. This isn’t me. Like a broken record I repeated it in my head realising that something was different. I didn’t know what had happened but I knew that everything was different and nothing would be the same again. Not within me, not outside of me. And I leapt up in the air, skipped on the field and found a joyful liberation in the newfound sensation. I was no longer bored of myself and my own thoughts. Instead the world was full of life, full of new ideas, new beings, new sensations. And I threw myself on the grass and watched the stars. I tried to name them but got confused and fell asleep.

How angry she was when I finally got back. She stood by the doorway as if she’d been standing there for hours waiting for my arrival. She stood there with a stern look in her eyes. It was a look that always terrified me. I would rather have faced the devil himself than my grandmother with that look in her eyes. And I told her I had been out by the creek and that I had fallen asleep in the field and I told her I was sorry and I told her it would never happen again and she took me over her knee, lifted my skirt and she spanked me red.

The shame and the humiliation crept over me like million spiders. The pain wasn’t so bad. I could live with the pain, but the humiliation was overpowering and I would never ever be rid of it. It would live with me, be in me forever. I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to shout that I was too old for this, but she was relentless. Blow after blow I endured. I closed my eyes and thought of the glowworm underneath the blackberry bushes. I wished I had eaten some of the blackberries. I wished I had stayed longer. Let the crime fit the punishment and I promised myself that I would steel another one of her bottles and find a friend to share it with. Let the crime fit the punishment. I promised myself I would.

“Let that be a lesson to you,” she said, but the words had long since lost their meaning. She was filled with these phrases and she wore them out, as if she had nothing in her but these words she had learned a long time ago, words that meant nothing anymore. Old lessons she tried to relay to me, but with the repetition came reluctance and with reluctance came rebellion and with the rebellion came ignorance. Her lessons I learned and defied on purpose. And I promised myself I would never become such a creature of habit as she. I promised myself I would never get stuck in myself as she was stuck. I was sure she could have left her body and her body would have continued on without her, doing the same things, uttering the same phrases.

I wanted variation. I wanted something new. I wanted change.

And when I felt I was becoming more like her I defied her rules. I stole into the night to watch the glowworms, or looked at the stars. I stole her wine and I kissed a boy.

One, two, three, four. But you rarely saw them. You just knew they existed somewhere in the world. Where your mother and your father lived. You imagined the happy family eating cinnamon rolls, drinking orange juice by the kitchen table, speaking of holiday plans and new toys. You imagined your mother with golden hair, nothing like your hair, and you imagined your father’s soft touch on your sister’s chin. You saw him pinch her, tickling her until she laughed and ran away and you imagined him following her pretending to be a monster, walking stiffly, arms raised, bared teeth. You saw your mother hug your brother. The youngest one with the Down Syndrome, a word you had learned to use lovingly. You imagined them laughing and dancing and singing and you felt you no longer belonged. Instead you didn’t belong. You didn’t belong anywhere. There was not a place for you on this planet. You were a thorn in your grandmother’s side and already cast out of your parent’s house. But you never shed a tear. Not over those feelings. Not over those thoughts. Instead you stole away into the night and you counted the stars.

I rose early the morning after. My grandmother sent me to buy bread and cheese on the market and she smilingly said I could buy myself some candy if I wished. She patted me on the head, lingering softness in her touch, harsh pity or regret in her voice. I resented her for treating me like a child. I wanted to shout at her. I wanted to shout evil words at her but instead I smiled.

We never shouted much.

I bought the bread and the cheese and had money left so I scooped sugared walnuts into a bag and put it in my pocket pretending to have eaten all the candy when I got home with the bread and the cheese. She buttered the bread and put a large slice of cheese on it, then she filled my glass with milk and watched me eat.

I hardly ever saw her eat anything at all, but hard liquorish and dried fish which she smeared with butter. I hardly ever saw her drink wine either. Her cellar was filled with wine bottles but I never saw her drink a drop. She never went down there, which was why she never noticed the bottles missing. I stole the bottles I suspected she would miss the least, would she ever decide to go down there and check her supplies. I hoped they were the cheapest. They were dusty and old and how was I supposed to know that meant they were worth more?

I was only sixteen.

I stole a bottle while she had her afternoon nap and left a note saying I was going for a walk and that I wouldn’t be home until later in the evening. I told her she didn’t need to worry about my dinner.

She was strict but she allowed me such liberties. If I told her I wasn’t coming home for dinner she didn’t mind as long as I kept to my curfew which was at ten thirty. If I violated my curfew I got spanked. One harsh stroke for every fifteen minutes and if I got in later then midnight I would either get the strokes on my bare butt or I would get double the amount I was supposed to. I got to choose.

I remember hearing her pride herself of her parenting techniques. She didn’t know I was sitting underneath the kitchen wall, eating a straw, listening to her every word. They sat by the kitchen table, situated by the window. My grandmother was making jam and the neighbour was helping her. A short break allowed them to delve into the subject of my upbringing.

“She’s a difficult child,” my grandmother told the lady next door. “She drove her parents to the edge and they just couldn’t take it anymore with the youngest as he is,” she almost whispered the last part as if there was shame in the statement and I hated her for that. “But I know how to handle her. She is a good child and just needs a little discipline so I give her that.” And the lady with the big ass and the small eyes asked her what techniques she used.

“I spank her,” my grandmother said proudly. “And I make her choose her punishment. When she has really oversteps the boundaries I give her a choice, she can choose between getting it on her bare bottom or she can have double the amount. I’m an old woman and I don’t use all my strength. The lesson is in the act itself. In the deed and not in the pain.”

I remember almost laughing out loud at her words. It wasn’t that she was trying to make it sound nice and easy, which she really thought it was, but she was right about one thing – the punishment didn’t lie in the pain at all.

You always chose the bare bottom pats. You walked towards her with your head held high and you pulled your pants down without the shame showing in your eyes. You were always careful about that. And you lay yourself over her knee. You knew you could fight her if you wanted to, but you did this anyway. You were sixteen. You knew that if you put up a fight she would never be able to string you down and make you take the punishment. But you still took it and while you lay there you decided for yourself if the crime fitted the punishment and what to add to the list if it didn’t. You lay there and your mind drifted far away and then you stood up, when she was finished and you saw the sweat pearl on her forehead and you felt the shame run through your body as you pulled your pants back up.

The bottle I stole that day was one of the dustiest I could find. The label had fallen off and it had been left on the far side of the cellar where the spiderweb was thick and dust lay over everything. Most of the bottles stood in a wooden rack by the door but this one stood alone in a rack. I snatched it and took my sugared walnuts and I skipped through the streets with my bag, trying to decide who to entice. In the end I decided on a boy my age who worked as a bag boy in the grocery store, mostly because I remembered he had kind eyes. I walked past the grocery store and noticed he wasn’t in there packing bags. I waited outside for a while in case he had just stepped away, but he was nowhere to be seen. So I walked further with the bag dangling in my hand and a satisfied smirk on my face. Doing what I wasn’t supposed to when I felt I had already been punished for the deed was satisfying. It sent a shiver through my body which almost made up for the humiliation I had experienced.

Almost.

I found him fixing his bicycle outside his parent’s house. I had never spoken to him before despite meeting him so often at the store. He had the habit of looking away when I looked at him and he never gave me any chance of approaching him. I hadn’t been interested either. This time, though, I was determined not to let him get away. I approached him from behind and greeted him with a hollow voice. He jumped up and turned red in the face instantly. I touched the tire of his upturned bike with my forefinger and smiled at him. His face turned even redder and he mumbled something I didn’t understand.

I asked him to join me and showed him my bag of walnuts. He shifted the weight from one foot to the other a couple of times before stammering his agreement. He left the bike upside down on the pavement and walked beside me glancing my way occasionally. His face slowly turned to normal while I chatted and he stayed silent. When he talked he stammered. After a while I realised that it was the way he was and not just because I was teasing him. It soothed my nerves a little and yet it made me a little sad. I wanted him to be flushed because of me.

I took him to the creek and we sat down by the blackberry bushes where no one could see us. I lay down a small cloth and put the walnuts on it. Then I sat down pulling out the wine and two glasses. His face turned red again when he realised what I had and he stammered violently. I waited patiently for his sentence. He hiccuped for a while on the word “I” but then a part of the sentence came out in a gush, “am too young,” but there the flow ended and he struggled for a while to get the next part out, “to drink.”

I told him it was alright. He didn’t have to drink the wine if he didn’t want to. I said I was going to drink just a little, if he didn’t mind. He shook his head and sat down, more at ease. He took a walnut and put it in his mouth and then his eyes wandered and his exterior  became more awkward, if possible.

So I started talking about the glowworms and how this was my special place. I told him I snuck away sometimes at night to watch the stars and he nodded his head. “I like to w-w-w-w-w-w-atch the stars as well,” he said and suddenly the words came with more fluency.

And he drank your wine. And he ate your walnuts. And you took his cherry.

After a little small talk he asked me if he could taste the wine. I told him it was really good and I giggled. I had a glass already in my system and I was gleeful and my cheeks were surely red. And I poured him a glass and poured another for myself and we drank and talked about life.

He told me he was saving up so he could buy a car when he got his license. He told me he was going to drive away the first chance he got. The more wine he drank the more he spoke, and with ease as well. It was as if he had never done anything but talk and although he still got stuck on some words his stammering was hardly noticeable.

“I’ve seen you in the store,” he told me. “You have such pretty hair”. He touched my brown curls with a flat clumsy hand and blushed. I filled his glass up again and said I liked to go to the store when he was working. It was a lie. I had never cared whether he was there or not. I had never thought much about the boy who put the groceries in the bag. He didn’t look bad or anything, with his brown eyes and dark uncontrollable hair but he was clumsy and he never said a word to me.

“You wear such short skirts,” he said and he giggled. “The other girls don’t wear such short skirts.” I wanted to tell him that my mom had bought them for me, but it felt out of place. I didn’t feel like I could talk about her anymore. It wasn’t allowed. I was with my grandmother now. I belonged to her and nobody else and so I didn’t mention the city or mother. I just smiled and said I liked wearing short skirts. I lay down on the grass, made sure the skirt moved a little higher up my thigh and I sighed comfortably. He lay down beside me, munching on the last walnut and told me I was pretty.

I wanted to hear him say those words again. I wanted to hear him say those words a thousand times. I wanted to hear them more than anything else in the world. So I moved onto my side, supporting my head with my hand and I looked him in the eyes. I told him nobody had ever told me that before and I told him I liked hearing it. I told him I liked him and I think I really did.

I believe that.

We finished the bottle in the hours we lay there and when it was empty I let him touch me. I let him touch my thighs first and then his hands moved to my breasts and he kissed me clumsily. And I lay there and I kissed him back and told him to say those words and he did. “You are pretty. You are pretty. You are pretty.” He said it over and over again without stammering and I almost hoped he would stammer them out so each word would last longer and his hand moved underneath my skirt and they were trembling. I could feel the insecurity in his touch and in his kisses. I let him remove my underwear and I unzipped his pants and I kissed his face and ears and eyes. His moves became a bit more self assured and he entered me, moved in me and came in me. “You are pretty. You are pretty. You are p-p-p-pretty,” he said and his stammering brought me over the edge and I felt what he felt. My heart pounded and my body shook.

Did he take your cherry? Do you remember if there were others? You remember him well, but where there others? The feeling was familiar, wasn’t it? You had gone to the blackberry bushes by the creek on warm days and you had unbuttoned your dress and you had taken off your underpants and you lay there with nature alone. But where you always alone? Wasn’t there someone else? Someone unexpected? Or was that later?

He told me he loved me as he lay there beside me and I told him that it was nonsense. I told him that the wine was making him feel randy and warm and good and that it wasn’t love. I told him that love was rare and hard to find and that all you could do was enjoy the feelings you did have, but I told him not to call it love.

He asked if he could meet me again under the blackberries and I told him maybe. I told him I’d think about it. I told him I didn’t know and he begged me stammering harshly and I smiled and put my clothes back on. I told him my grandmother was harsh and that I wasn’t always able to sneak away from her. We walked into town together, but I left him saying I needed to get home. Told him my grandmother would be waiting for me, even though I knew she wasn’t. I went back to the blackberry bushes to revisit the feelings I had felt. Those overwhelming feelings when someone else touched me and someone else said he liked me and someone kissed me and felt me and stroked me. I relished in the sensation all by myself, thinking and rethinking the moment.

You never revisited the one from before. You never went back to those memories. The ones not related to the blackberry bushes. You never thought about his touch, his strokes, his demands. Never thought about his words, or threats. You never even remembered, did you?

When I got back I was fifteen minutes late and without a word I lay myself on her knee and got one firm slap on the buttocks, but this time I didn’t feel the humiliation or the shame. I was too busy hiding my breath from her. Hiding my state of exhilaration. I was still relishing in the feelings and hoping she wouldn’t notice.

She never noticed I’d been drinking. Perhaps it was so unthinkable that I’d steel a wine bottle and drink it that she never thought about the smell. Perhaps she just didn’t have any sense of smell, but I always got away with it. I can’t begin to imagine the punishment I’d received if she’d found out. She would have locked me up and thrown away the key. But she smiled, satisfied when she noticed that I went to my room without a word. Glad that I had not waited for her to tell me I needed to be punished. She felt satisfaction in thinking that she was breaking me. Making me a new person.

Breaking me and making me new.
And I did change I guess.

I met him a few times by the blackberry bushes. We took off our clothes and we touched. When he told me he loved me again and said he wanted me to be his girlfriend I declined. I told him I was my own, I only belonged to me. I told him that this was all he would get from me. And for a while he kept on seeing me. Kept creeping into my body until he couldn’t handle it anymore. He stammered his goodbyes so heavily that I thought the conversation would never end. He said he loved me and that he didn’t want to be used by me anymore. I said I had always been honest with him but he didn’t understand why I didn’t want to go to the theatre with him or hold his hand in town. I told him I didn’t want a boyfriend. I told him I just wanted him to tell me I was pretty once in a while, to touch me.

And he did say I was pretty. I kissed him and we parted. I never touched him again. He never touched me. Perhaps he managed to buy that car and drive off. I stopped noticing him after we stopped meeting. He became the boy in the grocery store again. The boy who always looked the other way and I went to the blackberry bushes by myself, watching the ants busily going about their business. Watching the glowworms at night. Watching the stars and the crystal clear water flow by in the creek.

Like cherubs dancing in the twilight.

I remembered that night again. The time I walked to the blackberry bushes and picked up the worm. I remembered the feeling of change hanging over me. I remembered the liberating sensation. And in the night I snuck out of the house and I walked to the creek. I picked up a glowworm and I examined it but I didn’t feel the same revulsion as before. I looked at it from all angles but the disgust had gone away and I carefully put the glowworm back to where it had been before.

Like a shooting star burning brightly before fading away.

I walked back and I snuck in without her noticing. I sat down at the kitchen table and I thought for the entire night. I thought about me and about my grandmother. I thought about my mother and my father. I thought about my siblings and the way I was left behind. I thought about the boy and the wine. And while I thought I watched the picture my grandmother kept on the fridge.

It was a strange image of a cherub. There was a bright shooting star above and the vast ocean was filled with driftwood. Big waves hit the shore and the sky on the right side of the picture had turned red, white and blue as if all the stages of sunrise and sunset were depicted at once.

I had a taste of honey in my mouth. It felt like a memory. A nightmare. I tasted it with my tongue and I felt something in my body that was worse than my grandmother’s humiliation. And I pushed it back. I pushed it so far back. I pushed it with all my might but still I couldn’t help but see images.

Dark night outside the window, bright light in the house. You had just arrived, hadn’t you? He was your grandmother’s factotum. He came and he fixed the stove. He came and he put in a new window that had broken. He came and he drank coffee with your grandmother and he looked at you. You forgot all about him along the way. You forgot, and you pushed the memory away but it surfaces from time to time.

Like driftwood on a raging sea.

I don’t know where they came form. I just pushed them away. A nightmare revisiting me in waking state. There was no reason to do anything but push it away. Now I sometimes wonder what else I’ve forgotten. I sometimes get the sensation that there is something missing in my memory banks. A vital memory that has gone awry, gotten lost – or was never registered in the first place. What have I forgotten?

My grandmother woke up one morning with pain in her chest. I remember that very well. She ignored it for an hour and then called a doctor. The doctor swept her away and they left me there alone in the house that belonged just to her. They left me there alone with her things and her memories.

I cried with worry. I wanted to go with them but she took my hand and told me she would be right back. That she wouldn’t leave me. I just didn’t believe her. I sat there in the empty house certain she would never be back. I sat there …

Or was that before the boy? Was her attack before the wine and the glowworms and the change? She came back with a smile and she kissed me on the cheek. She held a bottle with small pills that she kept in her pocket always after that and she was back with her hard hand and her parenting ways. She came back despite my fears. Defying my fears. Defying my believes.

Was it before or after?

I remember sitting in the kitchen when she was away. Sitting there hearing the doorbell ring. The air was stuffy and thick. The night was filled with clouds. Dark thunderclouds sailed over the sky threatening to strike down anywhere, anytime. I watched them in fascination hoping a thunderstorm would hit us and it did. The rain beat the pavement outside the window and I went out in the dress with the yellow flowers. It was a dress I had hated when my grandmother gave it to me but I had learned to like it. I got soaking wet in an instant.

And the doorbell rang.
And I think I answered the door.

Before or after you danced in the rain?

I was still wearing the dress and it was dripping wet. My hair was soaked too. I hadn’t had the time to dry it. I hadn’t had the time to change clothes. I can’t remember who came in. I remember the cherub. I remember the shooting star. I remember the driftwood and the taste of honey. The taste of honey? A worrying neighbour perhaps?

He came in. The factotum with the red hair and the hungry eyes. He came in and he sat at the kitchen table. He asked where your grandmother was and you could see him gloating when he thought you weren’t looking. He drank the milk you gave him and some of it coloured his beard white. You were afraid of him, though you didn’t know why. Do you remember the fear in your bones? You had seen him before going about his business. He had looked at you and you didn’t like the look he gave you. You didn’t like the sparkle in his eyes. You didn’t like what they told you. And when you said she would be right back he said she wouldn’t. He said she would have to stay the night at the hospital and that he was there to look after you. You told him you were sixteen and didn’t need looking after. He laughed and called you a big girl and he clapped the place on the bench beside him. It was an old wooden bench. And you reluctantly sat down, the rain dripping from you and he pulled your dress over your head. He told you the wet clothes would give you a cold and so you stood there naked, unable to move, unable to shelter yourself. He pretended to be concerned about you, but you could see the hunger in his eyes and then you saw the cherub, the star and the driftwood. You stared at the picture while he fed you honey, made you lean over the kitchen table and commanded you to do things you had never done before. You didn’t scream. You didn’t fight back. You didn’t say a word. You just did as you were told.

You just did as you were told.
Just did what you were told.

Never again. Let the crime fit the punishment. And you closed your mind and you closed your eyes and ears and imagined you were one with the image on the fridge. You were one with the cherub and you were dancing underneath the shooting star in the twilight.

And he left you naked on the kitchen floor. And he left you sniffling, stifling your tears. He left you lying there and he left a few words with you. And you forgot the words and you forgot the threats and you forgot the deed and you forgot the man altogether.

He came again to fix the washing machine, to fix the roof. But she was always there watching you. Watching him. And you picked yourself off the floor. And you pushed the tears away and you put on some dry clothes and you threw away the yellow dress you had started to like and you asked if your grandmother could make you a different one. You told her it had been ruined and that you had thrown it away.

She scolded you for the waste and told you she could have fixed it and you had already forgotten why you had thrown it away. You had already forgotten. All you remembered was the cherub, the shooting star and the driftwood. It was comforting.

She was hard as steel and strong as an ox. I learned not to listen to my fears about her suddenly leaving me, vanishing from my life. I learned to defy those fears. I drank her wine and when summer turned to fall a big red clunk of goo lay one night in my underpants. The thunders were raging outside my window and I stumbled outside and danced in the rain again. Cleansing myself. I felt sad and I felt reborn. A new feeling was born inside me. A sense of freedom to be and to do and to will and to want. I felt ill but I was clenched. She had done what she had set out to do. She had changed me. That morning I transformed from a defying child into a grown up.

And when I came home at three in the morning that night she stood there waiting with that look in her eyes that had always frightened me so before, but this time I told her no. I told her that I was too old for this and that she would have to fight me. I told her I didn’t want to fight her but that I would if she tried to touch me, if she tried to strike me one more time. I told her that I was tired of being a child and that I was tired of being humiliated and that I was now a grownup. I told her that if she didn’t like it she could throw me out as my parents had.

And she hugged me. And she kissed me on the forehead. And she said she wouldn’t fight me. And she told me she wouldn’t throw me out. And she took me sternly by the shoulders and said that grownups work and take responsibility. And she said that if I was to be one I had to do that too.

And I nodded my head and told her I would do what I had to do.

The next day I sought work. It was a small town and it wasn’t easy but within a week I was helping a nearby farmer with some chores. I woke up at six in the morning and when I got home I was too tired to take a walk to the creek. I was too tired to watch the stars. I was too tired to steel my grandmother’s wine.

I went there sometimes during my free time. I walked by the creek and I picked up the glowworms unable to understand what had disgusted me before. I walked and I tried to understand. My transformation was complete. I had been turned into something I hadn’t been before. Suddenly I had responsibility to the world and towards myself and I worked hard.

When my parents came to tell me I could come home I told them no. I told them this was where I belonged now. I told them I didn’t belong with them anymore. I told them they didn’t need to worry about me. I wasn’t their burden to bear anymore and my mother left in tears and my father told me I should turn to them if ever I needed help and I saw pride in his eyes. I saw pride and joy in his demeanour.

I remember that feeling clearly. His pride hitting me like a tidal wave of fondness and I loved him for it as much as I hated my mother for her tears.

You never hated her. Not even when she sent you away. You wanted her warmth and you wanted her approval. And the tears felt nice, deep down inside because it meant something more than you realised at first.

I don’t know what happened. My memory plays tricks on me and the more I think about the events the more confused I become. Different memories pop into my head and different aspects. I remember moments of watching the glowworms so clearly. I remember the taste of the expensive wine I drank. But I could tell this story a thousand ways, a thousand times. I could tell this story until the day I die and I would still be unsure if I got it right even once.

I still go to the creek and watch the water flow by, watch the glowworms in the bushes. I sometimes eat the blackberries and sometimes I bring a bottle of wine but I buy the wine now and I sometimes bring salted peanuts or sugared walnuts. And the feeling is sometimes strong. And the feeling is sometimes weak and hollow and without any energy but still it lies underneath it all as if the layers of my memory are see-through and that something is stored that my mind’s eye refuses to see, refuses to look at, but it takes its space none the less and it takes its toll and it forms a part of my personality and it frightens me. If the day ever comes when the sequence of events becomes clear to me I will not become whole, but probably break into a thousand pieces.

And you feel free seeing cherubs dancing in the twilight and a shooting star burning up brightly before fading away. You feel free tasting the sweet honey, seeing the day born by the horizon, turning red, white and finally blue. And you feel like driftwood on the raging sea.

© Eygló 2016driftwoodgirl

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