Friday, July 20, 2012

The Journal

The Secret Sits
We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

This is the prompt that I found waiting for me for my Write on Edge challenge this weekend. There were many ways I could go with this prompt, but I decided it was time to address some family secrets in Carly's Story. This is a continuation of Family Dinner, but I wrote the previous excerpt months ago. So, if you go back in time to read that excerpt pardon any confusing transitions. Still a work in progress.

I hope you enjoy my take on this haunting Robert Frost poem. If are new to my writing and leave a comment, please let me know where I can find your writing so I can get to know your story, too.

The journal pages, touched and seen only by its’ author, now lay exposed on the kitchen table. The secret tumbled from the page causing the three of us to sit in silence, each absorbing the truth in our own private way.

“I remember that night.” Ilsa finally spoke. Her words soft, barely escaping her throat. She coughed, forcing the words to come out louder. “I remember that night.”

Greer sneered. “Impossible. You were a child.”

Ilsa ignored Greer. She reached for the journal, held it in her lap, and stroked the words her late sister had written. “We went to bed later than usual that night. Momma had been gone working an overnight shift to have the bakery well-stocked in the morning.”

Greer added, “She pitched a fit about leaving us alone that night. Dad hadn’t come around in days.She was worried he’d come around drunk, out of control.”

“Lena wasn’t home. Where did she go?” Ilsa questioned.

“The movies with a neighbor girl, “ Greer filled in. “She always had that ability to make friends. I was never that lucky.” Greer spoke this sincerely reminding me that she had loved her sister.

Ilsa continued to recount her recollections of that night . “Daddy never did come home, but Lena did. I woke up when the moon was high. Someone was crying.”

Tears started to pool in Ilsa’s eyes. I felt tears stinging my cheeks, too. “It was Lena. Huddled in the corner crying she didn’t look like a young woman, but a child. I remember wanting to ask her what was wrong, because I had never seen her like that. She was always so happy, so strong. No matter what hell we were enduring she was our light. I felt like a coward. I never went to her. I never asked what was wrong. I burrowed down underneath the blanket and went back to bed.”

“The next morning she was her usual self. I almost forgot about what I had awoken to.” Ilsa shut the journal, but kept it in her lap.  “I never knew he raped her.”

Oddly, relief consumed me. Months of keeping my mother’s secret, months of pent up anger would now not be mine alone. Ilsa and Greer would share my sorrow. I knew it was selfish, but I needed them to share this truth with me.

A small, nondescript noise came from behind me. John’s heart had grown weaker as the weeks wore on, he managed to shuffle from his room to the kitchen. The grief exposed on his wrinkled face verified that he had heard the entire conversation. He pointed to the journal and confessed.  “ Hell will soon welcome me and my sins.”

Saturday, July 14, 2012


A long week of writing for other people. Now, I have finally found a bit of time to carve out for myself and my own tales. This piece of creative writing is inspired by the Write on Edge community and the Red Writing Hood prompt. 

This week we were encouraged to write about the forbidden, the taboo. I chose to use this prompt to continue writing about my character, Carly. This small excerpt is a continuation from a previous excerpt, Who am I? 

I don't think this piece creatively challenged the concept of taboo, but I have been mulling over this part of my story for so long that I decided I need to get it out of my head. So, I hope you enjoy my interpretation of taboo.

Lying in the stillness that the raw hours of night often bring, I focused on keeping my breath even and soft. I was not entirely sure who I was hiding from, but I suspected that I wanted to shroud my former self from the person I had become.

I watched Yves sleep, his smooth, olive chest different from David’s pale Irish complexion. His mannerisms of sleep were different from David’s, too. David would thrash, throw about the covers. He always seemed to be fighting the relaxing calm sleep could bring. Yves lay on his back, lips closed, and his body still; content in the tranquility of sleep.

At that moment, I realized my mistakes. The multitude of mistakes that I had made up until this point did not matter. They were minor, fixable. What had happened in this apartment, this bed, would have no other option, but to change the course of my life. I loathed myself. How despicable could I really be? I lay here in this bed, comparing my husband and this new lover. Everything I had accused David of being, I had become. I was an adulterer.  Not an innocent bystander swept up in blinding love. If only that were the case, then I could plead no contest. But the facts were blatant. I made this choice to alter the course of my life. The wedge that had been building between David and me for so many years had finally become a gorge. This one senseless and selfish act had officially divided us. David didn’t know this yet, but I did. A vast space existed between us now and there was not a bridge in sight to repair the damage.

Vibrations echoed against the nightstand. Out of my left eye I saw David’s name light up the screen, out of my right eye I glanced at Yves to make sure he was still asleep. This new territory left me paralyzed. I didn’t know what to do. David had called continuously as the night wore on since he had sent that first text about John being taken to the hospital, but clearly I had been preoccupied with my sin. Now, I knew I couldn’t ignore the urgent nature that the calls indicated.

Quietly, like a bare whisper, I slid out from under the covers. I arranged my clothes on my body to resemble someone respectable, not a liar. I smoothed my hair, but without a brush I feared it told a story I would rather not elaborate on this evening.

I stood over Yves. I considered waking him. I considered leaving a note. But in the end I left without a word, without consideration.