Watering Jug DSC_3443
I Remember the Day
I remember the day that I knocked someone out. Someone I was supposed to love. The rest I forget. But I'm not dumb.
They think I am. And they make fun of me. And they play jokes on me. And I put up with everything. Till now.
They played a joke on someone else. See? And they blamed it on me. They asked that girl Jovina to come meet me. And pretended they was me. Said to go to Keyhole Rock and I would meet her there. And so she went and I did not of course.
Oh how they laughed when buddy Frank told how she left the rose there in the snow.
Sitting there in his pickup and watching. Watching while she waited. Even I got cold, he said. She must have been freezing her ass off.
What a couple of morons, they said. And they drank and they said and they laughed and they drank and they said. What a couple of morons!
And so though I had nowhere else to go and nothing else to do, I left their company. I packed my things up in a plastic grocery bag and left that shed that they had let me live in and I walked off down the hill. But not before I kicked the door of that shed in. Because I felt I owed them some remark.
The snow had frozen hard and it was after midnight so I slipped and fell a lot before I got down to the street where there was street lamps. And buddy it is lonely walking down the road in Blind Bay Nova Scotia in the middle of a winter night. I didn't know where I was going. I just followed my nose. And then there was a house I knew I don't know how.
The old woman who answered the door was quite cross. “Who is it and what do you want?” she said. She had opened the door just a crack, all that the chain inside allowed. In the porch light, all I could see of her was rheumy eyes squinting with suspicion, pursed lips, one hand clutching her robe and the other holding a gun.
She was small, I could see that. From two steps down, where I had moved so as not to be too close, we were eye to eye. But I was out of the light so I stepped up again back on the edge of the porch. I said, “Ma’am …” and she said “Arthur!” Then the gun disappeared and she unhooked the chain and the door opened wide and I had such a shock.
I don’t know why. I didn’t know who she was. But the sight of her shook me from head to foot. I even dropped my little bag of belongings. If my face hadn’t been so numb with cold, I think I might have cried.
“Ma’am,” I said again, “They call me Sonny Boy. Please. And I have had to leave where I was staying. Do you have a place for me? I can work. I can clean house, I can fix things, I can drive you where you want to go or get you what you need to get.”
“Oh,” she said. “Oh dear. Oh my. Oh Lord.” And then she took me in her arms and held me tight, her face pressed to my chest. Her snow-white hair was thin, I could see, and her scalp pink beneath. At last she let me go and looked up in my face and shook her head and said again, “Oh Lord, Oh Lord. How can I … oh, my goodness, look at you. You’re shivering to beat the band, you’re dressed like it was summer, and your cheeks are blue. Come in this house. I don’t care what they say. I don’t care what I think. I wouldn’t leave a dog out here.”
And so my life began again. And I remember and I swear I won’t forget how that next morning, when she called me down for breakfast, how the light shone through the upstairs window in that room she put me in, how there was so much room, and how there was a yucca plant there by the door and how each spiky blade of it was lit like swords of righteousness, and how I felt my chest heave with the things that I was feeling that I couldn’t name, and how I felt so good and hurt so bad, all at the same time.
15 March 2019
Prospect, Nova Scotia
Keywords:awake, cheerful, morning, orange, pail, pink, plant, room, sunlight, sunlit, uplifting, walls, watering, yucca