I know I’m late in posting, I’m sorry but here are the new pages! It’s not quite where it left off, it’s starting from where I can decipher what’s on the pages. It’s a short post but I’m hoping to have more coming soon. Thanks for reading and for hanging in there with me!
I was back at Essex. The sun was setting, I sat on the west side of the rolling lawn. Garden roses bloomed near the house, their heady scent traveling eagerly on the slight breeze. In my lap a basket of deep red raspberries freshly picked their nearness to the earth still pungent on my tongue. The setting sun was lazy, the sky flung with slowly moving waves of purple, orange and rust. I could hear the sounds of training leaking from the house, muffled blunt echoes of kicks, punches, the muted thump of bodies hitting the ground. I readjusted lying on the sloped hill, my back against the green grass. A buzzard flew overhead. Large and black it drew lazy circles against the sky, every third breath blocking the sun casting me in shadow. I popped raspberries into my mouth the ripe fruit staining my lips, tongue, the tips of my fingers bright blood red.
It began to scare me suddenly. I sat up quickly rubbing my hands against my white sundress leaving behind moist red streaks. The buzzard circled lower, the scent of roses twisted my stomach, the raspberries spilled against the ground, crumbling under my knees, absurdly full of juice leaking raspberry trails down the pristine green.
I sat on my heels frantically rubbing my hands against my dress. I was crying, tears I wiped with raspberry hands staining my face shades of red. The sun was content to watch resting its elbows on the horizon slowly blinking back the oncoming night. It was cold. Unbearably so, my breath crystallized against the air, visible sobs wafting past my face.
The sounds from Essex grew amplified, the buzzard flying closer its wings growing near enough to fan my face. The sounds from the house morphed echoing the whisper of my name, the chanting of it filling the air, pushing against my ear drums, squeezing moisture from my eyes. My hands would not be clean, I abandoned my dress rubbing them against grass tinted with raspberry juice flooding the ground like rain. It stained my knees, snuck under my fingernails.
Sobs shook my body fighting off breath. I brought my hands to my face, blood red juice dripping from my palms, off the tip of my nose, finding its way into my hair. The buzzard landed in the grass, its shiny black claws thick in the earth. It eyed me. Its pointy beak picking plump raspberries from the ground, the juice flowing onto its shiny black feathers. It inched closer, closer, its feet squeezing squishy sounds from the saturated grass.
I was afraid, fear spreading with each of its steps, fear stretching and moving against the whispers of my name and a sun refusing to set. Fear pushing sobs from me with screams hurting my ears, acting as a beacon drawing the buzzard closer and closer. I covered my eyes with red stained hands, tears flowing through my fingers. I heard the buzzard’s steps, closer, closer, closer, my eyes closed against my hands I was completely stone still with terror. I knew he was there, seconds from me, a raspberry sweet beak against my icy skin. I sat cold, afraid, waiting, waiting.
And then my mother’s song, softly at first then clear and pure, one she used to sing in the kitchen tying an old apron around her waist;
Flour goes in the kitchen
Butter in the pan
Pickles are good for snacking
Maybe we’ll have a ham
Then we’ll have dessert
A party just for two
Chocolate and lemon
One for me and one for you
I hummed along with the last lines smiling and opening my eyes just as the buzzard flew into my lap.
Its black face, black eyes even with mine, its beak opening, breath raspberry sweet and something making its way up its throat, shaking the birds body with hacking sounds, something working its way up its throat, pain shading the bird’s eyes, the song started again, my mom’s song. I looked over the shivering bird’s shoulder and she was there, bathed in golden sunset, singing her kitchen song, reaching her arms to me.
I reached for her, the buzzard tightened its claws into my thighs, my blood mixing with raspberry stains, the bird’s mouth growing larger making room for the thing fighting past its throat.
“Mom-Mommy!” I called out the words scratchy and tight, “Mommy please!”
“Shhhhh baby.” She stepped forward one foot in front of the other, “I’m here sweetheart, I’ve always been here.” She stepped forward again and then stopped, hands flat in the air pushing against an invisible wall.
She pushed as I called out, the bird quivering in my lap straining against what was inside, its eyes closing as the beginning of the thing inched past the narrow opening of its throat. I screamed my voice echoing across the green,
She pushed against air straining to reach me tears falling from her face, then she was free, free falling towards me, the thing inside the bird breaking loose. A primal scream wrenched from my mouth,
She fell forward, arms outstretched eyes locked on mine, the thing inside the bird pushing itself forward, birthing sounds escaping its throat, its claws digging deeper into my flesh ripping my raspberry stained dress to even shreds.
My mom continued to fall as if through quicksand, I strained my arms towards her, our hands almost touching, the thing inside the bird reached a raw fleshy hand around the side of its beak open the bird’s mouth even larger, I screamed – I screamed,
“MOMMA, MOMMA PLEASE, PLEASE!”
She reached for me falling through thick air but she was falling short, not gonna reach, not gonna reach, not reach. Panic clouded her face, her eyes met mine,
“WAKE UP BABY! WAKE! UP! WAKE! UP!”
I sat straight up in bed, the sheet damp and twisted around me, the echo of my own screams holding in the air. I reached out, seconds passing before I could shake the feeling of my mom reaching for me through the shadows. I ran my hand over my face and it came away slick with tears. My breathing was ragged. I concentrated to pull air slowly through my nose.
Staring into the dark I felt the grip of the nightmare gradually loosen around me. My back was damp against the cool sheets and pale yellow pillow. I adjusted against the mattress blinking against the nighttime inkiness rolling the details of the dream around my mind like dice in my hand. Nothing to be afraid of, just a dream – and my mom. Even with the edges of the nightmare still quickening my heart the memory of her, sound of her voice, remembering her face brought immediate comfort.
Willing my mind to shake off the parts lingering with fear I held onto the nearness of my mom, clearer in that dream than she’d been in years. Turning on my side I coaxed my eyes closed snuggling deeper under the covers humming my mom’s kitchen song until I finally fell back asleep.