Saturday, February 23, 2008

Entry #26

Please
by Rebecca Lake


Nora took another drag from her cigarette and shook her head. These country girls, she thought. What did they know?

This latest girl had been no different. She’d come in the night, begging, pleading. How they knew to come to her, she never knew. This one had that wild look so many of them had, the one that made it impossible to say no. Please, she’d said. Please. That one word had been enough to make Nora reach for the black bag she kept under her bed and set to work.

From the porch, she could see down the mountain, flashes of white clapboard scattered among the bare branches. Winter was slowly dying, taking with it its inevitable loneliness. Nora had never had a child of her own. The ease with which she was able to take life had only been matched by her inability to bear it.

In the bedroom, the girl was beginning to stir. She’d be awake soon, eager to escape the mountain, eager to escape Nora’s eyes. The sun was beginning to come up, a bloom of red flooding through the trees. Red was all she saw some days, it seemed.

Nora turned and went inside. The fire in the woodstove had burned down to almost nothing, sending a chill through her bones. The girl was awake now, mumbling under her breath, a plea for forgiveness. As she stoked the fire, Nora smiled ruefully.

These country girls. What did they know?

24 comments:

Aerin said...

This pulled a heartstring, deeply and honestly. The contrast of barren & fruitful, white & red - very poignant, effective imagery. Really nice piece.

Beth said...

The ease with which she was able to take life had only been matched by her inability to bear it.

I LOVE this line and this story is one of my favorites.

DBA Lehane said...

Tight, compact and poetic. A lovely story

pattinase (abbott) said...

I may be reading this wrong but I'm getting the sense something else is happening here--from her rueful smile, the plea for forgiveness.

sandra seamans said...

You've captured a past that most people have forgotten. Slinking off into the night for an illegal abortion. And the sadness of the woman who does this work is heart wrenching. Excellent story!

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

A story of powerful contrasts, subtly and beautifully handled despite the subject matter. Very well done.

24crayons said...

This was amazing! Beautifully written!

Parabolist said...

This was a really amazing story. Beautifully written.

Remiman said...

a poignant peek into a darker side of life. Perfectly told!
rel

Sarah Hina said...

A dark, but very effective, reflection on a contentious issue. I admire your beautiful writing here, and your authenticity.

This one will linger.

bluesugarpoet said...

Wow. Yes, I, too, liked the contrasts in imagery; those contrasts nicely represent Nora's state of mind as well. Very nicely written!

pjd said...

Is this a forgotten past, or a view of one possible future? OK, OK, it's from the past. But still.

I love the metaphor you turned the prompt into. But it's a dark tale. Poor Nora, the one who really craves forgiveness, doomed to be a taker of life. She is Winter, stark and barren and heartless without being cruel.

This is one of my two or three favorite, and I've read nearly all of them. Every word plays into your metaphor and enriches the meaning. It stands to be read many times, and each time I see something I missed before.

SzélsőFa said...

What pjd said: it is rich.
A poetic contemplation of the harsh reality of the past... For some parts of the world it is still present tense...
I like how well composed this entry is.

Bernita said...

The balanced contrasts, the subtle simplicity.
Very well done.

raine said...

A beautifully written piece about a painful subject and grim time.
Well-handled, well-done!

JLB said...

This is really lovely writing - great flow and beautiful connections between word and image.

Marcia (MeeAugraphie) said...

Your words just flow so easily they connect what is and what wasn't as if they always had been.

MickyMc said...

It’s nice to see a well written piece of fiction which tackles the unpleasant world of the “no choice” past head on. So often people shy away from tackling contentious subjects like this for fear of people’s reaction. Great though provoking piece.

MickyMc said...

~~typo alert ~~~ that was meant to be thought provoking

Lena said...

Story on contrasts, so beautifully done. Loved it :)

bekbek said...

This is incredible, and has shot to the top of my list as I read. The last line in particular is just perfect - a common enough sentiment, but laden with meaning as it comes right after the concept of forgiveness. You're showing what I think is one of the best techniques in these oh-so-brief stories: How the placement of each word or thought in relation to the others imparts new meaning. Well, I guess that's true in all great writing! But it is so particularly well-used here.

Truly well done.

Dottie said...

Very well written and intriguing.

jason evans said...

Wow. The mood of this pervades. The descriptions, the speed of movement convey it. Powerful, and very well written. Very high marks!

Congratulations on 4th Place!

Aine said...

The flow and pace of this is so well done. She is heroic and tragic. Unable to have children, yet helping girls with unwanted pregnancies. Despite the serious subject, this was a pleasure to read! One of my favorites!!