Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Back to freewriting, did one of my exercises today. I found myself back to the young girl's voice that I use frequently. Here's what I wrote based on the prompt from Anna Quindlen.

Anna Quindlen, “Black and Blue,” p. 260.

“I loved the shit out of you, and look what you did to me.”

It was Saturday morning and Mama was going down to Carlene’s to get her hair done because she was having people come over that night for Uncle Willie’s birthday. On Friday she had brought home a yellow sheet cake from the Food Lion all decorated with chocolate icing and a bunch of hearts and “Happy Birthday Willie” written in green icing in a fancy script. Uncle Willie was Mama’s little brother. Their mama and daddy had died in a car wreck almost 10 years before and I was only a baby so I didn’t even remember them. Uncle Willie was the night janitor at the bus station. He was a bit tetched and he didn’t go far in school or anything so Mama watched out for him as best she could and every year she had a nice birthday party for him and invited all the neighbors. I was watching cartoons when Mama got out of bed and rushed out of the house, saying, “Now you stay here and watch Jeralyn and the boys until I get back. And I don’t want to come back here to a pig sty or any dirty diapers, you hear me?” “Yes, Mama, I hear you. When will you be back?” The door slammed without an answer from her. Mama was in one of her bad moods. I thought maybe I could make her happy if she came home to a clean house. So I put Jeralyn in the playpen and started scrubbing. I did all the dishes, made the beds, ran the vacuum cleaner, and polished the furniture. I kept screaming at the boys not to make a mess and changed the baby’s diaper even when it wasn’t dirty. It was noon and Mama still wasn’t home. I fed the baby and put her down for a nap and started folding laundry. It was 3 o’clock and Mama still wasn’t home. I wiped down the kitchen floor again because the boys were spilling juice and throwing crackers at one another. I finally got them to sit still to watch a movie on the TV while I sat by the coffee table and worked on a school project. Mama came home just before dark, her hair bright red and sprayed, and wearing a new green dress with a slit up the side, carrying boxes of food from Mamie’s BBQ. “Is that what you’ve been doing all day,” she shrieked, “just sitting in front of the TV?” “No, Mama,” I said, “I’ve been . . . “She didn’t hear me. She was in the kitchen getting out plates and napkins to set out before the company arrived. She pushed open the kitchen door, saying, “You go do something with yourself, Margaret Ann. I don’t want you embarrassing me in front of company by looking like that. I don’t know why you don’t care about your appearance.” I went into my room and looked in my closet. I hated the fancy clothes Mama had bought for me. I felt like some other person when I had to dress in those things. I opened the door to my parakeet’s cage and said, “Well, Chiffon, she didn’t even notice. Guess it didn’t work again.” I got Chiffon out of her cage and climbed under the covers of my bed with her and cried as she sat on my finger. Mama threw open my bedroom door. “What the hell are you doing? Are you some sort of anti-social retard or something? I told you to get dressed. Then get out here and help me. All I do for you and this is the thanks I get? Look at you. What have I done to deserve having a child like you? You’ve been the biggest disappointment of my life. I loved the shit out of you, and look what you did to me.”

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