Monday, June 29, 2009

The Dream

In continuing excepts from my book I am working on, I will post parts of them on Mondays. I would thoroughly enjoy all your comments and suggestions, blunt honesty and criticism. Hope you enjoy it.

The Dream

She awoke to another silent scream, drenched in sweat, pulling off the covers from her shoulders. She glanced around unaware at what had just happened. She breathed in and out in a concentrated effort to get back to a normal in and out rhythm. After more minutes than she cared to count, she could barely hear her breath anymore. She was able to breathe in through her nose. She took a deep breath and sighed and tried to remember where she was.

She was still sitting in her own room, surrounded by old familiar objects of her world. She could see herself sitting on the floor looking at her reflection in a mirror framed by pictures of her and her friends over the years. Despite so many pictures, she could still see herself quite clearly. She was back. Back to reality once more. A reality she hadn’t hoped would come. A reality she hoped would be lost deep within her dream world. A dream she wished she would never wake up from.

Still here she sat, pink comforter wrapped around her legs. Her sheets lie in a crumpled heap, where she had thrown them upon waking.

Paint by number pictures of horses of different colors stared back at her from the walls like they were frozen in time. She had painted those so long ago, but still remembers the exact time and place where she created them all. She closes her eyes.

Sitting at the kitchen table, paints in their plastic containers all numbered, dry paint brush waiting the opportunity to greet the first dab of color and the canvas stamped with black numbers and an outline of a horse. Beneath her work surface was some newspaper just in case the paint spilled like last time. Momma understood then, but not sure she would be so forgiving the second time around.

She opened the container of paint carefully, picked up the red paintbrush and dipped it into a black glossy color. She located the number 1 on the container and began carefully to paint in all the areas with the corresponding number 1 on them. She looked up to see her mom folding clothes on the kitchen counter, laying them out neatly by designated piles based on whose clothing they belonged to. She stopped momentarily and looked at me.

“Make sure you don’t spill all of that like last time, pay attention!” she cautioned while still folding a T-shirt.

“I put down newspaper this time, Momma.” I said proudly.

“Still, make sure you watch what you are doing. You don’t want your Poppa to become angry again, right?

“Yes Momma! I’ll be extra careful today.” I said and began to once again fill in all the black number 1’s.

I sat there for hours, carefully rinsing out my paintbrush, and making sure that it was completely void of all color by wiping it on a paper towel. I would pick another color, and then make sure to only complete that color in it’s designated spot once more.

Pretty soon, my water started to turn a grayish green and no matter how many times, I would try and swirl my brush in the cup, the water simply wouldn’t get it any cleaner. I looked up to ask my Momma to get me some new water, but she had gone upstairs to put all the clothes away. I didn’t want to bother my mom, so I carefully put the cap back on my paint, took my brush out of the water and put it down on the table. As I stood up, I pushed the chair out with my legs, and grasped the cup into my hand, steadying myself on the table top with the other hand.

I didn’t realize that my shirtsleeve had caught on the top of the chair’s back and when I slid out from the chair, I spilled the water on both the kitchen floor and me. I tried to hurry and pull my sleeve off the chair but I panicked and knocked the chair over.

“Amanda, what’s that noise?” Momma called from the hallway. I heard her footsteps on the stairs as she began racing down the stairs to reach the kitchen.

I tried to pick up the chair as fast as I could, and in doing that, pulled the newspaper off the table. Next all the paint from my paint set as well as my painting found a new home as well on the kitchen floor with the newspaper.

Momma reached the kitchen just as everything had settled. Paint now oozed from the containers that no longer held each of them separately now blending in with one another, forming new colors. My painting lay face down on the kitchen floor and as I picked it up, I saw it had left its paint on the floor like a stamped image where I had filled in the colors. No more lines, no more numbers. Just a big smudge of black, brown and some olive colored green. Along with that, the water had begun to seep into the newspaper and paint creating one big dripping mess.

My white school shirt was now covered with a big water stain of green and gray water. I began to cry. Not because it would take me forever to clean it but because I knew what was coming.

“Oh Amanda, not again.” Said my Momma sadly. “What will your father say now?”

“You don’t have to tell him. We can, I mean, I can clean it up before he ever notices.” I said nervously.

“You know it doesn’t work like that right?” Momma said with raised eyebrows looking sternly at me.

I began to cry harder. Hoping that the louder I cried maybe she would take pity on me this time and give me time to make it right. I tried to pick up the newspaper but it only torn in tiny pieces because of the water had soaked it completely through.

I looked up at the kitchen window and saw that the sky was growing darker and purples and blacks began to fill the spaces that had once been blue. Now it was getting later. It was only a matter of time. Time before father would arrive. Time before my reality would set in once more.

My Momma stood over me, standing with her hands on her hips. She was wearing her blue jeans and a red and white checked blouse. Her hair pulled up in a high ponytail, and tapping her foot on the floor next to me.

The clock next to the kitchen window was slowly ticking out the seconds that I knew were coming all too soon. In another minute or so, it would all be over.

The place where moments before were all warm and fuzzy, full of possibilities of hope and love, but then like a cloud it came. I looked up and saw my Poppa standing in the doorway, and the look of fury and anger on his face was more than I could bear.

I continued to sit in my paint and newspaper mess, tears rolling down my face, hoping that he would take pity on me this time. I saw the belt in his right hand, hanging low and swinging from his side, and I closed my eyes. I close them because perhaps if I don’t see it coming, it won’t hurt as much this time.

I will try harder next time. Try harder to be a better like girl for them. After all they must love me otherwise they wouldn’t have adopted me. They said they had tried so hard for so many years and God must have cursed them with no children. That is why they came for me. Came when so many others would look at me and smile, but I never got to leave. Not until the day they came. They said I was just what they were looking for. A perfect little girl, who could be Momma’s little helper and Poppa’s little girl.

I know now, that it must be my fault. They came and took me from the home I sat in after so many of my friends had left to find new homes with loving families. So they must love me. At least that is what they always tell me in the morning, after the pain goes away and they aren’t so mad at me anymore. They tell me they love me so it must be true. I will try harder next time. I will try to not make them so mad any more at me, and try harder to make them love me more. Then perhaps Momma won’t let Poppa hit me anymore.

She says it for the best. She tells me I need to learn right from wrong. That the Bible even says “spare the rod, spoil the child” and I certainly don’t want to be spoiled. Momma reminds me that people don’t like spoiled little children. People will talk about those children behind others backs. I don’t want to be spoiled. So Momma says Poppa must teach me again. I am trying really hard to learn. Trying to figure out why I always make them so mad. I wonder why I keep making so many mistakes. I wonder if maybe I was born this way, to always do bad things and perhaps I deserve to be hit.

Maybe that is why my own Momma left me at the restaurant one night. She said she was going to the bathroom and would be right back. She never did. So I must be bad, my own Momma didn’t want me.

I look up once more and see my Poppa once more, the anger still in his face, the belt just hanging there waiting for me. Momma still is tapping her shoe on the floor, her hands are still on her hips, and outside the sky is purple and black just like I will be soon. So I close my eyes and wait.

I open my eyes and see the image hasn’t changed, time hasn’t passed. My reality hangs in front of me, like the pink comforter wrapped around my legs, and I sit and stare. I sit and stare because I deserve to be here. I am a bad person who deserves to be punished until I learn not to be so spoiled anymore. I don’t even notice the others around me who sit like me staring at their own reality here in the gallery. I sit and I cry.


~*Michelle*~ said...

I have to come back when I can collect my thoughts...but had to let you know how gripping this is for me.


you are truly gifted. :)

RCUBEs said...

The story is so alive as I started thinking of many abused children as I was reading your story. It's a sad reality that many parents expect too much from their kids, thinking that they're doing them good while they are actually harming them, not only physically, but much more with the unseen scar physical abuse etches in their hearts.
Your story is vivid in details.

3 Blessings said...

Wow! Your words are so compelling and the hurt seems so real that I can feel the pain of this little girl.

I just found your blog and added myself to your follow list. I look forward to checking back often.

Andrea said...

WOW...I felt as though I was there in the story...maybe b/c it is "truly" real to me on so many levels.

Prairie Girl said...

Grace is just so important, isn't it?! There are so many children who's lives don't have near enough grace. Your story evokes so many emotions. I want to reach out and share grace with this little girl.



twofinches said...

This is what I call a "raw" story. As a writer, these are hard to polish because too much fussing over language can rob a piece of its pain. This piece needs the pai in order to remain effective. And it was very effective. It was not beautiful or easy though!

Since you asked for comments on writing rather than the substance I will mention only one thing.

christy rose said...

I think that it is wonderful that you are sharing with us what is going on in you through your writing of your book. You know so many things are revealed in writing on so many levels. I am not a story teller, by any means, so all I can tell you is that as I read this today, I was looking for pieces of the author and trying to understand her more. If that makes any sense. Keep them coming. I thought is was very enticing to read myself.