Tag Archives: family dysfunction

The Whole Kit and Kaboodle

butterflies on poo.jpg

Daddy and Junior got that coon off the road before it started to stink. The July rain they’d gotten and high temperatures four straight days made a quick inevitability. A virtual certainty. It was gonna reek.

Albert would eat it nonetheless. Anything stood fair game on his half-barrel BBQ grill. Leastways without too many flies or ticks.

Them rescuing road-pizza for Albert prompted little chatter around town, as people were used to their quirkiness.

He might draw the line at maggots. They got to his gut one time. Otherwise, his seasoned stomach took it. Some sauce made all the difference.

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Working out the demons

“The most bitter irony of my situation,” Kelly told the intake counselor at the homeless teen shelter, “is that Roderick broke up with me. Now I’ll have to live on what strangers give me.”

The social worker’s face seemed genuinely compassionate, as far as she could tell, doubting her instincts now. Her father supposedly loved her but sent the girl packing after finding her ex-boyfriend’s text message.

Dad knew his family though they were from the other side of town. “My daughter will not mix with blacks,” he’d said. “You’re no longer my child.”

Love did her wrong twice.

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Image: Raphael Brasileiro via Pexels

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No Place Like Home

“We should get there by nightfall, Shelbina,” the woman told her sleeping daughter, the susurrus of the road having lulled a sense of calm. She always used the little one’s full name, unlike her father. He refused to recognize the namesake, yet another way to maintain his control, so everyone else knew her as Shelly..

Shelbina was the tiny place where her mother grew up. That town and the girl represented everything the woman truly loved, which only fueled her husband’s resentment. But his predictable delivery room absence left her a chance signing of the birth certificate without him. Someone wise might have warned that lack of parental participation as a foreshadowing.

She glanced over her shoulder at the girl’s limp form slumped in the backseat, eyes fluttering in a disturbed REM cycle. A big row earlier in the evening must have played part in such fitful slumber.

The woman reckoned all that nonsense had to come to a head before she finally split up their family. A glimpse in the rear-view mirror as she returned her gaze to the road convinced her that fateful decision was the right one. Proof in fresh bruising around her left eye.

Just lightly fingering the puffiness brought a sudden flinch. That kind of pain proved she’d done the right thing to hit him over the head with the floor lamp and gain enough escape time to get to the car. Even if her brother ended up beating the man half to death in retaliation when he saw her face later.

It was only a matter of time before her husband’s anger turned to Shelbina instead of herself. “He ain’t never gonna touch you, honey. Not if I can help it,” she whispered, not wanting to wake the girl. Maybe saying the words out loud would mean she could believe she’d actually left him.

Shelbina’s untidy hair glistened in the golden hour glow of gathering dusk. The closer they got to the western horizon, the closer they were to home. “Just a little while longer now,” the woman said softly. “We’re almost to Shelbina.”

 

Two Word Tuesday prompt – adumbrate and/or foreshadow

http://ourwriteside.com/28742-2/

video: Samantha Fish – “Go Home” via Local 909 in Studio

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In Over Her Head

underwater.jpgThey watched the house through heat vapor that rose up from the road and waited impatiently as the family got ready to leave for vacation. First the fifth wheel emerged from its long metal carport like a snake shedding its skin, and the wealthy family began loading coolers and supplies. All the markings of those folks being out of town for quite awhile.

Terrance and Larry watched from the tree line beside the Thompsons’ driveway, far enough away to not be seen, as sweat ran down their foreheads. The juvenile delinquents knew exactly when the neighbors drove away for their extended holiday, and the backyard swimming pool was no longer off limits to them. With temps well above 100, they’d sweltered the summer away and couldn’t wait to cool off in the decadent water.

Larry screamed, “It’s ours now!” The other two followed his lead and scrambled over the wooden fence behind him. Any splinters gained would soon be soothed in chlorinated coolness. The boys stripped down to jump in wearing their Jockey shorts, and Haley took swam in her tank top and undies.

She dove in the deep end and distanced herself from the boys as quickly as possible at the opposite side of the pool, kicked her thin legs up over the side, and lay back in the water with her rear end resting on the concrete side wall. That position left her ears submerged to muffle the noise of those idiots as they splashed and dunked each other. The liquid muted their sluicing around and brought sweet relief from both the barrage of heat and constant volume of nonsense. Their tussle became a far off sound, another thing she could pretend wasn’t happening.

Reclined like that, the world faded away. Haley stared at the clouds as they drifted across her line of sight. One billowy mass formed the shape of Italy, the heeled boot across the great ocean, which made her smile. She closed both eyes and the image stayed imprinted inside her lids. I wish I could go there, she thought.

Haley wanted to stay in the water, enveloped in the sense of security it gave her. No worry about lack of air conditioning at her house. No thoughts of whether her mom and dad would be fighting when she got home.

Poolside, the boys argued about their plans for later. Terrance warned that a prolonged stay might raise the attention of other nosy neighbors and possibly the cops. He cautioned, “We better not stay here too long. ‘Sides, we got that party to go to across town.”

“I don’t think it’s no ghetto party,” Larry replied. “They might even have some free beer.”

Terrance gave the concrete beside Haley’s legs a hard thwack with his flattened palm. “You listenin’ to us, girl? We gots to go.”

Her eyes popped open with a start, and her calves scraped across the pavement to splash back in the water. “Whydya do that? You made me hurt myself!”

“Oh, boo hoo,” he told her. “That ain’t all that’s gonna hurt if you don’t hurry up. We gotta get outta these wet clothes. Come on!”

Haley pushed back off the side of the pool to go under water again and let its briskness embrace her one last time.

Our Write Side writing prompt – thwack

photo: Piscina by Daniel Lobo

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