QueryTracker Community
January 20, 2019, 07:00:29 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Note: This forum uses different usernames and passwords than those of the main QueryTracker site. 
Please register if you want to post messages.

This forum is also accessible by the public (including search engines).
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: The Child in the Garden - literary  (Read 80 times)
moorarr0
Newbie
*

Karma: 2
Offline Offline

Posts: 4


« on: January 11, 2019, 01:51:34 PM »

Part 1

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
A woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
Of a woman near to giving birth?
   Wendell Berry
   “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”


1.
   Once there was a boy for whom flowers bloomed whenever he laughed.
   They were daffodils mostly, paper white, though there were irises and snapdragons and pansies too. In his youngest years they sprung from the earth in great joyful triplets. They filled the front yard of my grandmother’s house, spilled out into the sidewalk through cracks in the concrete, and began taking over the neighbor’s yard as well, growing through the spaces between the plans on the front porch. I watched them from my room in the gable, the blooms popping open like kettle corn. When he was four a vining rose began its ascent to my window, the deep pink and red of his joy opening petal after petal. A peace settled deep within me: somewhere, my boy was laughing.
   My grandmother pretended not to notice. She plucked the roses from floorboards with indifference and clipped the paperwhites from the front walk without comment. When the flowers had covered every inch of the yard she adopted the gate of an elephant and trampled her way to the car. She contacted every florist in the county and offered the flowers up for a cent a piece, bouquets for quarters. They began coming on weekday mornings, shearing the flowers into large white buckets and dropping nickels into a pickle jar she left on the stone wall by the road. I saw the flowers on display in the shop windows around town, gathered neatly, bound in twine or burlap.
   And once a week, I heard my grandmother late at night, sliding the coins across the dining room table and packing her profit loosely into sleeves for the bank. Those days, I lay in the dark thinking of him. I imagined his voice, his smile. I fell asleep dreaming of his hands. They would still be scarce bigger than the size of my palms.

2.
   I met my father only once, on a grey day in early autumn. I was walking the main road home from school when a cold rain began pouring, and suddenly he appeared, running beside me with a purple polka dotted umbrella. We stopped under the awning of Clark’s Grocery and sat together on a bench. The water shuttled down the gutters.
   “Are you Caroline?” he asked after we’d both caught our breath.
   “Yes, sir,” I said. I frowned slightly, trying to remember if I’d met him before. I’d lived in Sparta only a few months. It was a small town, and my grandmother had lived there forever, so everyone knew who I was. Meanwhile, most adults still remained strangers to me.
   The man smiled broadly and scooted closer to me on the bench. “I met you once or twice, when you were small. I was a friend of your mother.” I eyed him cautiously. “You don’t believe me,” he said with a laugh. He took off his hat and ran his fingers through his hair. It was dark brown but starting to grey.
   “My mother didn’t have too many friends,” I explained. “Not that I remember anyway.”
   “Ah, I am sorry to hear that.” He considered the rain a while. Then he turned to me, “What about you, Caroline? Have you made friends at school?”
   “Yes, sir. Enough.”
   “And your Grandmother treats you well? You like her?”
   “She’s wonderful,” I said.
   “And you are happy living here? It seems a lovely little town.” I nodded. The rain was easing up. The man stood and shook out this umbrella. “I’m glad. I travel often- almost always, actually. But this would be a lovely place to stay, if I could.”
   I rose and he patted me on the head, letting his hand rest. He stared down at me intently. “You look like your mother, you know.”
   “That’s what my Grandmother says.”
   “You don’t agree?” he asked. I shrugged. In truth, my mother seemed too wholly perfect to me. She had blue-green eyes and honey colored skin and a perfect kiss of freckles on her cheeks. I was darker, with brown eyes and a pale complexion. “Well, you look like your father too,” he said. He smiled, and I felt I’d been told a joke without understanding the punchline. “Caroline, if you ever need anything, I want you to write me here,” he said. He handed me a business card with his name and address. “Will you do that?” I nodded. “That’s a good girl. Now head along home. I’m sure your Grandmother will wonder where you’ve been.” Then he started towards town, whistling and swinging his umbrella beside him.
   I went the rest of the way to Grandmother’s alone. I hopped from puddle to puddle, singing to myself and practicing hopscotch on the sidewalk cracks. By the time I arrived home my socks and mary janes were wet and brown with mud and my father’s card lost somewhere. My grandmother sent me to the bath straight away with a fair bit of scolding, and chastised me still more when she saw I’d stained my new gingham skirt with dirt. As I went to bed that night I thought not of my father, but of how my mother never would have punished me for puddle jumping.
   It was years before I understood who he was. I tried to remember his face sometimes when I looked at my own, rehearsing our meeting in my mind. I tried to guess at his feelings for me. I wondered why he hadn’t written my grandmother instead, or why he never came again. Sometimes I felt anger for him rise within me, but then I would forgive him. Then sadness would come, and then again, I forgave.

3.
   My mother died when I was six years old. She died of the flu, and it happened very suddenly. One day we were out in the garden and she was showing me the blades of the iris bulbs, just beginning to press their way through the soil. The next day she was sick in bed. The doctor was called and I was sent to a neighbor’s. My last memory of her is from a distance: she is coughing in bed. There is a soft lamp beside her, so she glows yellow. She smiles at me, and blows me a kiss. The next day she was gone.
   In my first memory of her it is the blue of early morning and she is asleep on the twin bed in our living room. It is winter, and my feet are cold and bare on the wood floor. When I place my hand on her cheek, she opens her arms to me and I tuck under the quilt with her. Her hair is soft and tickles my neck, and her breath is warm on my forehead. I have held onto this memory as tightly as I can. I have tried to remember the way her voice sounded when she said my name, but this has faded.
   In between these are the collected things I know of her: she loved pears and radishes and tomatoes. She smelled of flowers and kept a little pillow of lilac in her clothes drawer. She hummed along with the radio because she never remembered the words. She told me fairy tales before bed and her favorite was Snow White and Rose Red, and for my fifth birthday she gave me a set of dolls in their likeness. My mother’s hair was curly and she had dimples when she smiled. She was unexceptional in every way except that she was my mother and she loved me and even though she died just as I was coming into the part of life that is remembered I still wore for years and years her love around me like a coat of sunlight.
I met my grandmother for the first time at her funeral. I was struck by how familiar she looked, much like my mother, but how strange it was that she existed at all. I think before I’d believed that my mother had always existed – that she somehow sprang from the ground fully formed.
   From my grandmother, I learned that my mother had skipped two grades in school. That she had played the flute but not well. When she was eleven years old and my grandfather was still alive, my mother had gone with him on an overnight fishing trip deep into the valley. She caught a large bass but wouldn’t let my grandfather keep it, throwing it back into the deep pool of the river. She moved away during the war to be a nurse at the veteran hospital.

And then I had been born. My grandmother never spoke of this, and as a child I imagined that I had no father. My mother had been my world, and then my grandmother, and it was easy for me to imagine my lineage without men, as if they weren’t necessary in our family. Still, I never learned how my mother told her parents of my conception. Sometimes I wondered if my grandmother even knew my name before I came to live with her.
The night of my mother’s funeral after all the mourners left the house, my grandmother sat on the loveseat by the fire and pulled a box of yarn onto her lap. “Now Caroline, my love,” she said, “I am going to make you the prettiest sweater in White County. What’s your favorite color?”
   “Blue, ma’am.”
   “Alright, then.” She rummaged around and found a pale blue skein. “Will you sit with me while I knit?” She gestured to the cushion next to her.  “Do you like fairy tales?” I nodded. “Well,” she began, “Once upon a time there were two sisters, and one was as fair as snow…” I sat beside her and let my head fall upon her shoulder. I closed my eyes and pretended she was my mother. I believe she pretended I was my mother too.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 04:56:21 PM by moorarr0 » Logged
kaperton
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 17
Offline Offline

Posts: 115


« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2019, 03:37:29 PM »

This is really lovely. I just noted a few typos.


Part 1

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
A woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
Of a woman near to giving birth?
   Wendell Berry
   “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”


1.
   Once there was a boy for whom flowers bloomed whenever he laughed.
   They were daffodils mostly, paper white, though there were irises and snapdragons and pansies too. In his youngest years they sprung from the earth in great joyful triplets. They filled the front yard of my grandmother’s house, spilled out into the sidewalk through cracks in the concrete, and began taking over the neighbor’s yard as well, growing through the spaces between the plans planks? on the front porch. I watched them from my room in the gable, the blooms popping open like kettle corn. When he was four a vining rose began its ascent to my window, the deep pink and red of his joy opening petal after petal. A peace settled deep within me: somewhere, my boy was laughing.
   My grandmother pretended not to notice. She plucked the roses from floorboards with indifference and clipped the paperwhites from the front walk without comment. When the flowers had covered every inch of the yard she adopted the gate gait of an elephant and trampled her way to the car. She contacted every florist in the county and offered the flowers up for a cent a piece apiece, bouquets for quarters. They began coming on weekday mornings, shearing the flowers into large white buckets and dropping nickels into a pickle jar she left on the stone wall by the road. I saw the flowers on display in the shop windows around town, gathered neatly, bound in twine or burlap.
   And once a week, I heard my grandmother late at night, sliding the coins across the dining room table and packing her profit loosely loosely? I don't understand this word choice into sleeves for the bank. Those days, I lay in the dark thinking of him. I imagined his voice, his smile. I fell asleep dreaming of his hands. They would still be scarce scarcely bigger than the size of my palms.

2.
   I met my father only once, on a grey day in early autumn. I was walking the main road home from school when a cold rain began pouring, and suddenly he appeared, running beside me with a purple polka dotted umbrella. We stopped under the awning of Clark’s Grocery and sat together on a bench. The water shuttled down the gutters.
   “Are you Caroline?” he asked after we’d both caught our breath.
   “Yes, sir,” I said. I frowned slightly, trying to remember if I’d met him before. I’d lived in Sparta only a few months. It was a small town, and my grandmother had lived there forever, so everyone knew who I was. Meanwhile, most adults still remained strangers to me.
   The man smiled broadly and scooted closer to me on the bench. “I met you once or twice, when you were small. I was a friend of your mother.” I eyed him cautiously. “You don’t believe me,” he said with a laugh. He took off his hat and ran his fingers through his hair. It was dark brown but starting to grey.
   “My mother didn’t have too many friends,” I explained. “Not that I remember anyway.”
   “Ah, I am sorry to hear that.” He considered the rain a while. Then he turned to me, me. “What about you, Caroline? Have you made friends at school?”
   “Yes, sir. Enough.”
   “And your Grandmother grandmother [only uppercase when you refer to her as "Grandmother", not "my/your/her grandmother."] treats you well? You like her?”
   “She’s wonderful,” I said.
   “And you are happy living here? It seems a lovely little town.” I nodded. The rain was easing up. The man stood and shook out this umbrella. “I’m glad. I travel often- [em-dash, no spaces] almost always, actually. But this would be a lovely place to stay, if I could.”
   I rose and he patted me on the head, letting his hand rest. He stared down at me intently. “You look like your mother, you know.”
   “That’s what my Grandmother says.”
   “You don’t agree?” he asked. I shrugged. In truth, my mother seemed too wholly perfect to me. She had blue-green eyes and honey colored skin and a perfect kiss of freckles on her cheeks. I was darker, with brown eyes and a pale complexion. “Well, you look like your father too,” he said. He smiled, and I felt I’d been told a joke without understanding the punchline. “Caroline, if you ever need anything, I want you to write me here,” he said. He handed me a business card with his name and address. “Will you do that?” I nodded. “That’s a good girl. Now head along home. I’m sure your Grandmother will wonder where you’ve been.” Then he started towards town, whistling and swinging his umbrella beside him.
   I went the rest of the way to Grandmother’s alone. I hopped from puddle to puddle, singing to myself and practicing hopscotch on the sidewalk cracks. By the time I arrived home my socks and mary janes were wet and brown with mud and my father’s card lost somewhere. My grandmother sent me to the bath straight away with a fair bit of scolding, and chastised me still more when she saw I’d stained my new gingham skirt with dirt. As I went to bed that night I thought not of my father, but of how my mother never would have punished me for puddle jumping.
   It was years before I understood who he was. I tried to remember his face sometimes when I looked at my own, rehearsing our meeting in my mind. I tried to guess at his feelings for me. I wondered why he hadn’t written my grandmother instead, or why he never came again. Sometimes I felt anger for him rise within me, but then I would forgive him. Then sadness would come, and then again, I forgave.

3.
   My mother died when I was six years old. She died of the flu, and it happened very suddenly. One day we were out in the garden and she was showing me the blades of the iris bulbs, just beginning to press their way through the soil. The next day she was sick in bed. The doctor was called and I was sent to a neighbor’s. My last memory of her is from a distance: she is coughing in bed. There is a soft lamp beside her, so she glows yellow. She smiles at me, and blows me a kiss. The next day she was gone.
   In my first memory of her it is the blue of early morning and she is asleep on the twin bed in our living room. It is winter, and my feet are cold and bare on the wood floor. When I place my hand on her cheek, she opens her arms to me and I tuck under the quilt with her. Her hair is soft and tickles my neck, and her breath is warm on my forehead. I have held onto this memory as tightly as I can. I have tried to remember the way her voice sounded when she said my name, but this has faded.
   In between these are the collected things I know of her: she loved pears and radishes and tomatoes. She smelled of flowers and kept a little pillow of lilac in her clothes drawer. She hummed along with the radio because she never remembered the words. She told me fairy tales before bed and her favorite was Snow White and Rose Red, and for my fifth birthday she gave me a set of dolls in their likeness. My mother’s hair was curly and she had dimples when she smiled. She was unexceptional in every way except that she was my mother and she loved me and even though she died just as I was coming into the part of life that is remembered I still wore for years and years her love around me like a coat of sunlight.
I met my grandmother for the first time at her my mother's funeral. I was struck by how familiar she looked, much like my mother, but how strange it was that she existed at all. I think before I’d believed that my mother had always existed – that she somehow sprang from the ground fully formed.
   From my grandmother, I learned that my mother had skipped two grades in school. That she had played the flute but not well. When she was eleven years old and my grandfather was still alive, my mother had gone with him on an overnight fishing trip deep into the valley. She caught a large bass but wouldn’t let my grandfather keep it, throwing it back into the deep pool of the river.
And then I had been born. My grandmother never spoke of this, and as a child I imagined that I had no father. My mother had been my world, and then my grandmother, and it was easy for me to imagine my lineage without men, as if they weren’t necessary in our family. Still, I never learned how my mother told her parents of my conception. Sometimes I wondered if my grandmother even knew my name before I came to live with her.d then she had moved away during the war to be a nurse at the veteran hospital. [something happened to this sentence.]
The night of my mother’s funeral after all the mourners left the house, my grandmother sat on the loveseat by the fire and pulled a box of yarn onto her lap. “Now Caroline, my love,” she said, “I am going to make you the prettiest sweater in White County. What’s your favorite color?”
   “Blue, ma’am.”
   “Alright, then.” She rummaged around and found a pale blue skein. “Will you sit with me while I knit?” She gestured to the cushion next to her.  “Do you like fairy tales?” I nodded. “Well,” she began, “Once upon a time there were two sisters, and one was as fair as snow…” I sat beside her and let my head fall upon her shoulder. I closed my eyes and pretended she was my mother. I believe she pretended I was my mother too.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!