JOURNAL OF A LOST VOICE
(scheduled for publication by AviarPress)
September – Now
I can see him now. Standing there… sad, and ashamed. How did he get that way? Always ashamed, such a strong man. He looks at me, his eyes are wet. I'm not
ashamed, for once I'm not ashamed. Look at me Ben, like a baby I'm rolled up. I'm not in your bed any more, I'm not afraid. I wish I could move. I wish I could stretch and pull myself around and feel all of the sheets. I can't. I
can only hear the machines click, and I can smell the lineament… no it's not, it's medicines and pine oil maybe. And the soap smell of the nurse when she turns me. Now he stares. He wants to reach out and touch me
, to wake me up, to talk so I would listen. No, you listen… I scream at you, Ben, I screeeeem! Do you hear me? Do you hear me! It's all right to be sick, it's all right to die. But I won't die in pain. I'm happy again…
because I'm young again.
December – Then
It was only a week, since we were in New York that it came back to me. Then, the cold and the dark, the Christmas time when they came looking for us. The red
and green of their terrible holiday… red, the color of our blood, green the color of our skin, all against the cold, white snow. Momma blew out all the candles and
opened the windows and unlocked the door so they might believe that the house was empty. Poppa kneeled in a corner and covered his head and prayed, moaned words that only he understood. Like a storm, first in the distance, then a
low rumble, then a quiet where you couldn't hear anything. Then the terrible rush of feet and voices and horses, of glass breaking, of people breaking, of fire. We
stood as if we were naked, as if we possessed nothing, not even ourselves. We stood like the animals in the pen, our heads empty, no food in our stomachs, no water in our mouths, feeling nothing, staring at the icicles hanging from the
window, frozen… with fear.
That's how I stood this night in New York, at the door of the butcher shop on Houston Street, waiting for Momma, remembering Christmastime in a little town
by Odessa. A thirteen year-old girl, with black hair and dark eyes, with memories that are painted on my hands. Wrong, wrong for a thirteen year-old girl. Soon the
nightmares will come and America will help me get rid of them. Tomorrow I go to work… it'll be all right.
April – Again
I loved John Garfield. He was the only man I ever loved. Why? Maybe because he was always running, trying to get somewhere. Maybe he was trying to get me.
America loved Errol Flynn and Clark Gable. I loved John Garfield. His real name was Jules. He knew that, and I knew that. And my secret, after he died so young, was that his heart gave out because he didn't understand what was happening to
him. Like me!. I knew that, and he knew that I knew that. He was a good man, and he might have loved me too...