marți, 13 aprilie 2010

story from the black locust tree

The other girls did not ask Pretty if she will come, they already knew the answer and she didn't even care that much. She had a house to keep and no time for childish games of mama and papa like the other girls her age.
Summer turned the unpaved road in a talcum like powder that stuck to Pretty's impeccably white socks...she will have to wash them again....”Can't go like that to school! Ain't proper!”
Pretty just turned nine and long blonde hair came down her back like a soft cascade over her white blouse, so finely combed that it seemed made up of imaginary threads.
She didn't live too far… gate number two was just around the corner, on the road with no name, at the only house that had stuffed dogs happily barking at the door.
Pretty wasn't an orphan. On the contrary, her mother had left for Italy and was now working there for a woman with a very short memory and a comfortable wheelchair that was sending her gifts every time she sought her picture.
Pretty had a lot of nice clothes, thus being envied by all the other girls in here village; on top of this she did quite well in school also. The little girl could be tops of the class, but it wasn't easy to tend to the poultry and a household when you are only nine. Her mother told her when she left that from now on she was to be the woman of the house and that ”The man of the house is the pillar of the family, but the woman is the foundation and without a solid foundation...”. So Pretty did her best, the few chickens and the odd couple of dogs running around the courtyard were happy, though a bit undernourished.
The little girl was changing her clothes in the mirror. Old, clean working pants and a sailor style t-shirt. “Homework is important, but if papa is comin' home and he ain't gonna find no food, then is gonna be trouble.” She started pealing the potatoes, dicing the onions and chopping some greens. The sun was way up over the black locust tree which shaded the porch; Pretty still had time. She discovered there was no bread in the house, and no corn meal either. She could get some bread from the store just around the corner and pay for it tomorrow. The lady at the store was very fond of her, like almost all the other people in the village were, and let her buy groceries on the tap but no cigarettes or alcohol for “that dammed, no good, lazy father of yours. He never pays on time and always says that poor little Pretty is eatin' him out of house and home. Cursed be his soul!”
Now she had some bread also, she will simply take the money out of her father's wallet when he is asleep and pay tomorrow when she comes home from school.
Homework: she loved it! Adding, subtracting, dividing - they made her feel like a reputable accountant; she even had a special black dress that she wore together with a white silk blouse just for doing her math assignments. The girl was sorry that she wasn't wearing glasses ... they would have matched her attire and would have made her feel more like a banker conducting some important transaction in those banks that crowded the main street of the nearby city. She was also learning French , “a banker must know a foreign language for the important transactions”. You could barely see the short, roughly finished table underneath the large pages of her textbook.
Light was shining through the branches of the black locust tree. How time flies when you are having fun! She had to wash herself. Her socks were dirty, the white blouse had some grey shades and papa needed some clean clothes also if he was to find a decent job. The water well wasn't far away. Pretty should have thought about it sooner, when the sun was still shining enough to heat the bucket of water and she wouldn’t have wasted precious corn cogs. Maybe there were some amber leftover from the stew.
Grasshoppers started singing in the garden, the table was set on the porch but she preferred eating in front of the TV. Some bitch was dripping poison in the ear of a raven hared, South American, Adonis to make him marry her instead of his beloved princess. The bitch never succeeds, she knew that, the Adonis always marries the princess and the pitiful shrews end up alone but still, it is fun to watch.
The sun was resting on the fence, in the shade of the black locus tree. The day's work in the fields should have ended also, maybe papa didn't work far away so he will not pass by the pub and drink the money he made, maybe tomorrow mama will send her the craved ticket and she will go to Italy. Good Lord, she wanted that!
Pretty was washing herself with some leftover water, “papa doesn't like her dirty, especially if he is drunk”. The gate opened, papa worked nearby today so in the morning she will have money to pay for the bread. She served him at the table, cut the loaf; he asked her if there was some home made wine left in the cellar. There was some, but she had hid it so he would have something to drink later on.
The man washed himself, it was late by now and the only lights resting under the black locust tree where the lights of the nearby city and the banking street.
Papa called her to bed, tomorrow she will have to wake up early to feed the dogs, the poultry and have some time to prepare for school. Papa caressed her. That was good, it meant he will fall asleep almost immediately after that and she can take the money for the loaf of bread. A couple of pushes and a warm liquid was dripping between her legs. Didn't bother Pretty that much now, in the beginning she was very upset but she had gotten used to it by now. She went out to wash herself, papa was already snoring. She took the money from his wallet.
“Don't forget tomorrow to pay the store lady for the bread.”

The End