Sunday, July 17, 2011

Entry #56

The Crossing
by J. Domingo


“You see over there?”

My mother asks her palm open against the stretch of ocean the Man says is called the Red Sea.

I notice only an expanse of nauseous green but I nod and keep my eyes fixed on the points of my mother’s fingers.

“Beyond there is water,” she continues, “water we can drink, water to save us.”

The boat lurches and I eat a spray of salt. Someone huddled at my feet stirs, coughs and turns over. A screech of gulls rips the air and the sea is calm again.

Once there were 12 of us – my father, grandparents, aunts, cousins, and sisters. Once we had a small farm. I grazed our goats while my parents tilled the soil and my sisters weaved. Then the rains stopped and our land baked, our animals died and so did we, one by one until we two were left saved by strangers passing through our village in a jeep with a big red cross on its side. They took us to a sprawling camp buzzing with flies and mosquitoes where my mother met the Man who said he’d take us across the Red Sea to Paradise.

She didn’t say at what price.

Crowded by sweat, skin and stench in a creaking boat sagging under our total weight, I wonder at this Promised Land.

But my mother, with bones much too prominent like mine, is convinced.

“Soon,” she says as if in prayer, “we can begin again”.

46 comments:

Catrina said...

I'm curious to know what this is costing her. Excellent imagery. Good job.

j a zobair said...

So much expressed in such a short sapce. I love the "she says as if in prayer." Perfect closing.

Aimee Laine said...

There are so many interpretations one could make in this. :)

Old Kitty said...

Thank you for your very kind and encouraging words, Catrina, j a zobair and Aimee Laine. I'm truly humbled. Take care
x

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Incredibly original, Kitty!

Shawn said...

Beautiful, it is apparent by the chill at the back of my neck, you need to continue!

Michael Morse said...

Fantastic, tragic journey, from home to despair to hope. incredible work in so few words. I'm a paramedic in Providence and work closely with refugees. You nailed their resolve, perhaps you are closer than.

D.J.Kirkby said...

Goodness! I was blown away by your story. Lovely, intense, almost cinematic, and left me wanting more.

fairyhedgehog said...

This works so well and is so powerful. I do hope her mother is right.

Great to see you in here and with such a good piece too!

penandpaints said...

I love this, Old Kitty, beautiful.

Brigid said...

What a terrific response to the prompt, a really engaging story, Old Kitty x

marg said...

That is a great story. In fact we want another chapter. It does make you feel like you are on that boat. Good stuff

Jayne said...

Ooo interesting! I want to know more about what life is waiting for them.

Ginger Jasper said...

This is great and makes you want to have more.. carol and GJ x

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Nicely done, and at what cost? Has me wondering when payment will be demanded.

Dottie :)

Catvibe said...

Beautifully written. The cost line gives an ominous feeling that it's not going to be the paradise she hoped for...I dread for them somehow. Wanting more, another 250 words for the cost. :-) Your imagery is excellent.

suzy doodling said...

Moving story, this could be the start of a book. Would love to read more.

Precie said...

As others have said, I hope the price wasn't too painful and the mother's hope is realized. In such a small space, you do an amazing job of conveying the mother's indomitable will to live.

Old Kitty said...

Awwww you are all beautiful stars! Thank you!!! I'm blushing and humbled and so happy, thank you! Take care
x

bluesugarpoet said...

Great spin on an exile/redemption story. I love the imagery! ~Jana A.

Claudia Del Balso said...

Congrats, Jennifer! This is a lovely flash story. It's descriptive, poignant, yet hopeful. Great job!

Four Dinners said...

Now THAT is a crackin' bit of writing O.K.!!!

4D x

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

This story was so vividly descriptive and gave me goose bumps! I want to read more! Wonderfully done.

"The Boys" and Karen said...

Wow, just wow, Jennifer. So poignant. So telling. You have a gift! Don't stop now, though.

Jamie Burch said...

I want to read more! Well done, Jennifer!

Pk Hrezo said...

Old Kitty, I love it! I don't think it's rubbish at all, but a very real feeling story. I say go with it! :)

Simon Kewin said...

Love it - great sense of place and enigmatic all at the same time.

The Golden Eagle said...

I love the description and the feel of this scene--and I have to wonder what they'll find once they do reach the place where they can begin again.

Theresa Milstein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theresa Milstein said...

The end section gave me the chills. I hope it works out for them. You should consider expanding the story. I want to know more!

So descriptive too.

I know you have her palm out instead of pointing because of the picture, but I would link the picture more to the baked earth than the new land. Minor detail.

Excellent job, Jennifer.

Lynda R Young said...

Oh wow, this is fantastic. You've captured the whole feel of the scene perfectly.

joanne fox said...

Lovely Kitty, very vivid description within this short piece. And I like the sense of hope at the end. x

Mikki said...

Ohh, intriguing concept. I felt as though I was reading a creation myth. Your imagery is beautiful.

Thank you for sharing!

Margaret said...

Very well written. So vivid!

Jade L Blackwater said...

Well-rendered snapshot of this experience. I feel adrift!

Patsy said...

Moving and thought provoking piece. Great descriptions too - I could almost fel the heat and smell the stench.

Al said...

Lovely Jennifer. Such pain such hope.

Poor sods I hope they don't make it to Oz. We'd stick them behind wire for 5 years and then send them back where they started from.

Aidan Fritz said...

I like the way you've captured a sense of the sea in this piece. It brings out the sense of horror about these refugees searching for a better life.

Richard Levangie said...

Brilliant and painful. Fine work.

I'm a climate change activist, and this is the world we will be living in within a generation, with million upon millions of climate refugees unless we can find a way to live sustainably.

Artists must lead the way, or we are lost. (and sorry to be so dark)

Old Kitty said...

Thank you all so much!!! thank you! Take care
x

Manzanita said...

Sorry I'm late. I've been away for a couple of days. Your story is raising all kinds of questions in my mind. Wonderment and mystery of their life when they reach their destination. It is so beautiful and yet sad. What's that, bittersweet? Gives my heart pleasure to dwell on it.
Thanks

pegjet said...

Moving story. Mothers hold on to hope, even when they've lost it. Beautifully done.

Aniket said...

I loved how you used the child's POV to fill in the little details on the surrounding that otherwise would have been very gloomy. Very clever and strong writing.

JaneyV said...

You captured so much of the pain and the determination of the refugee here. I wish them well. I hope this new land delivers on its promise. Thank you x

Ann Best said...

Incredibly evocative, Jennifer. You've created a prose poem here. The brush stroke, and I feel the fear, the gloom, and smell the sweat and the perspiration. "But my mother, with bones much too prominent like mine, is convinced." This image reveals everything, especially, of course the hunger. Wow! I'm impressed. This is a perfect example of how "less" is "more." Strong nouns, strong verbs. No excess. And that powerful last phrase "as if in prayer." As if. Stunning!

To Jason: I was browsing through some of Old Kitty's recent posts and found a link to this. I'm so glad I did, not just to find this story of hers, but also to meet you.
Ann Best, Author of In the Memoir, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

jason evans said...

A very grounded sense of the moment. The pace felt like the rocking of the boat. Fine writing!

Congrats on Forties Club!