Saturday, August 26, 2006

Entry #41

The Man in the Moon
by Rebecca Snowden


“What goes on in this house is nobody’s business,” mama says. “You understand me?”

She’s down on her hands and knees, scrubbing at the stain on the wall. The yellow flowers on the wallpaper have faded almost to white but she keeps scrubbing.

At dinner, JD said I looked at him funny. When I tried to say I didn’t, he threw the pot roast against the wall. Then he went for the belt.

Finally, she leans back and looks the wall up and down. Her face is red and there’s little beads of sweat standing out on her forehead. Satisfied, she turns to me.

“You tired?” she says, and when she talks her voice has gone soft, like velvet. I nod, even though I’m not, just so her voice will stay that way, all the hard edges rounded out.

She helps me to bed, careful not to touch the red welts on my legs.

“You know he doesn’t mean it,” she says.

She leans down and pats my cheek and her face has got that hard look again.

“You remember what I told you.”

Outside my window, I can see the moon, glowing silvery-white. Mama told me once that the moon was like God’s flashlight, that he shines it down on us sometimes just to make sure we’re alright. That when people talk about the Man in the Moon, they’re really talking about Him.

Nobody’s business, I think. I close my eyes and whisper my secrets to the moon.

35 comments:

klgilbert said...

Aghhh! A real punch to the gut.
Present tense makes this story so powerful!
I hate JD. I am mad at the mother for her submissiveness, yet pity her at the same time. I love the boy. My heart breaks for him.
Well done.

Joni said...

What a gorgeous story. Poignant and well-told. Very, very nice Rebecca.

fringes said...

Very well done, Rebecca. I loved the God's flashlight line. I wonder if that's true.

Nicholas Abbot said...

This is really good.

The image of the mother scrubbing pot roast off the wall, her kid standing there with welts. Man, it packs a punch.

Scott said...

You've done it again Rebecca. You've really captured what it is like to live in an abusive household. I suspect this isn't totally fiction. Nice written. Seriously, this was very good.

anne frasier said...

wow, rebecca. you really captured that manic personality of the mother in an abusive situation. loved this:

" and when she talks her voice has gone soft, like velvet. I nod, even though I’m not, just so her voice will stay that way, all the hard edges rounded out."

and how the child will do or say whatever is necessary to survive.

very, very nice.

Robert Ball said...

Disturbing to think that such actions actually happen. Should be mandatory reading to anyone who has abused a child. Nicely done.

Jaye Wells said...

Rebecca, this was heart-wrenching and very well done.

briliantdonkey said...

Rebecca,

There isn't a whole lot I can say that hasn't already been said. GREAT post,GREAT story, even if it is about something I DESPISE to my core. The fact the hair on my neck is standing up and I want to beat his arse to a pulp shows what a great job you did of telling the story. Nicely done.

BD

Shadowrite said...

This is excellent. There is a betrayal, when a mother can't defend her child because of her own fear and helplessness. You've portrayed that so vividly. Wonderful writing.

Writing Blind said...

Thank you, everyone, for the comments. I never know what people will think.

And Rob, yes, I had to go with pot roast. Consider it an homage.

Rebecca

Bev said...

This is so real I can smell the soap and the pot roast. It also sets off all kinds of flashing red lights and alarm bells.

WOW!

Linda Fort-Bolton said...

You gathered a lot of emotions and I think that is what writing is all about.

Writing Blind said...

Bev, Linda, thanks. Sometimes I worry that I go into sensory overload but I'm glad you liked it.

robert rohloff said...

I hope God dosn't run out of batteries for his flashlight. What a dark world it would be. Well written story

Jim said...

This is something I can relate to, having worked for a brief period of time as a social services caseworker. Tough subject to deal with, from any side of the issue. It was always amazing to me how willingly women would go back to their abusive men, taking their children with them. Well-written story!

Flood said...

Really well done, Rebecca. I read it a few times because the rythym is so good. The narrator has a disassociative voice, making the basic idea more eerie.

Kingfisher said...

I know a piece is well written when it makes me angry. This pissed me off on so many levels.

A subtle hand wrote this, one that shows and doesn't tell.

One exception: the title is a little trite. I might pick up a line from the dialogue as the title.

Overall, extremely good. I can't compete.

R. W. Randall

aleah said...

This was very direct. Strong writing - and heartbreaking!

Writing Blind said...

Thanks again, everyone. I appreciate all the great comments.

Rebecca

Bhaswati said...

Excellent story, Rebecca. The utter helplessness of the child in the absence of any support from the mother makes this so heartbreaking. You captured the kid's POV extremely well.

Marcail said...

It's been said. Well crafted and evokative.

Writing Blind said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you all so much. You've made me glad I haven't given up on this writing thing already.

Kathleen said...

Very well done story, although my heart broke for the little one, and I want to slap the mother. JD is beneath contempt.

Writing Blind said...

JD was the name of one of my mother's boyfriends. Now I feel kind of bad about using his name.

Amin said...

The ending of this story was very difficult to read. Really touches you on an emotional level.

Beautifully written and very gut-wrenching. A job well done and a worthy winner.

Suzanne Smith Karg said...

Congratulations on your well-deserved win!

Roy said...

That was good. Very well done, & congratulations!

Writing Blind said...

Thanks again, everyone. And congratulations to everyone else who won. I think getting up the nerve to write one of these things and send it in is achievement enough.

Nicky said...

Congratulations! That was a superb story, beautifully understated but phenomenally powerful and poignant. Gut wrenching in it's reality.

Nicholas Abbot said...

Way to go Rebecca!!! Fantastic story, and a well-deserved win!

Nicholas Abbot (Elisha Bridges, SF Johnston)

Writing Blind said...

Thanks so much, yet again. I appreciate everyone who took the time to read the story and comment on it. It means a lot to me.

Rebecca

Amra Pajalic said...

Congratulations Rebecca. It's beautiful.

angel said...

very touching, and incredibly real,
congratulations!

jason evans said...

Such an amazing pacing and delicacy to the storytelling. I totally bought into these characters. Amazing tie together. Highest marks overall.

CONGRATULATIONS ON FIRST PLACE!! Very much deserved.