Friday, January 08, 2010

Entry #58

The Other Side
by Tracy Holczer


"The thing about love is ..." Mother didn’t finish the sentence. She never did when she talked to the kitchen wall.

Two inches of ash burned from a cigarette in an old pie tin. Juliet watched as the tiny fire died against the filter. She removed their two plates from the wobbly table and set them into the kitchen sink.

“Everything’s cracked …They’re coming…” Mother said.

Juliet backed away and crept to her room, pulling the door closed. The dark curled its smoky tail around her chest, stealing her breath, like the cat out of her mother’s nightmares. Lights were forbidden beyond the kitchen. That was how the devil found you in your dreams.

Juliet opened the curtain just enough to peer out into the twilight. As she did, a bird shadow flew from one branch to another. And then again. Juliet’s heart beat like a fist against her ribs. Let me out, let me out.

With trembling hands, she threw clothes into a white eyelet pillowcase.

Mother still talked in the kitchen. Slowing down. "The thing… about love is ..."

Juliet stood in the hallway. The front door was just beyond the glow of the kitchen. She knew about love. It was on the other side.

30 comments:

onipar... said...

A haunting story. Well done.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Does she stay or does she go? Oy.

Very haunting. Lovely.

Selestial said...

I agree, very haunting. The idea of living with an insane parent and having to choose whether to stay or leave ... *shiver*

maybe genius said...

The dark curled its smoky tail around her chest, stealing her breath, like the cat out of her mother’s nightmares.

Really love that line.

Bernita said...

Moment of truth...

Leatherdykeuk said...

oh! Excellent!

Janel said...

Very creepy and agonizing. A very tough decision for Juliet to make.

pjd said...

I love the detail of the old pie tin and mother talking to the kitchen wall. Interesting situation you leave us with; I can't decide what is right at the end.

Nevine said...

Very dark and filled with uncertainty and insecurity. The darkness lies inside... us. Very very nice!

Nevine

JaneyV said...

Tracey I find my head is yelling "Run Juliet! Run!" IF her mother's insanity is keeping her prisoner she has to go doesn't she?

As you can probably tell, I found this piece very involving. Very good.

Aimee Laine said...

"Lights were forbidden beyond the kitchen. That was how the devil found you in your dreams."
That was an awesome line. A superstition in the making. :)

Craig said...

A powerful sense of being caged. I love how you used the dark.

Kartik said...

ditto on pjd's comments!

Lena said...

I wonder what decision she will make. With your powerful writing you created a really strong story. Liked it.

macaronipants said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. It never occurred to me that it was a cliffhanger ending since I know what she's going to do. A lesson in how important it is to step outside the work and see it from the reader's perspective. Thanks again!

Scattercat said...

Evocative imagery. Some of the better lines have already been pointed out, but I do like a good metaphor. Fortunately, this story also has some interesting plot to go with it.

SzélsőFa said...

a great vignette that could just as well make a nice start (or a backstory) to a longer piece. I liked the play with light.
the fact that there is twilight outside may suggest that the outside world is not the happy opposite of what is inside the house...

hey, word verification is: stori
o.O

laughingwolf said...

smart choice...

Aniket said...

That's why I hate commenting after Pete.

I remember reading a similar post from Jason himself, last year. There is no right or wrong in these situations. And no one in the world but you, have the right to judge.

Great work.

catvibe said...

I think going. Excellent piece, a very sad state of things. It would be so hard to watch a parent or a child be insane. So hard...

Chris Eldin said...

Terrific characterizations with the details you chose, and the way you wrote them. Haunting tale...

Laurel said...

Great vignette expertly told. Her mother's madness is choking her, like the image of the darkness around her chest. Good, powerful details that tell a lot here.

Nice.

Roger said...

keep writing! If this isn't already part of a longer piece.

macaronipants said...

Thanks again everyone. Your comments are so kind and supportive. Maybe there is a longer piece in there somewhere :)

Terri said...

Scary.
(Possibly even more so since I've been know to converse, occasionally, with my kitchen wall.)
You painted a chilling picture here.

Jean Ann Williams said...

Poor girl! I understand about mothers that talk to themselves and never makes sense.

Great job. I hope she left. I did.

Jean Ann

Deb Smythe said...

Yery visceraly imagery. Wonderful prose.

McKoala said...

Just gorgeous, controlled writing with perfect detail and simplicity. Love the open ending.

james r tomlinson said...

Some people would go to great lengths to seek that love, even if it means risking what your life by challenging what's beyond the door.

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like Sarah Palin's hair or the enigmatic career of Justin Timberlake.