Cold Dark Night

Cold Dark Night

On a cold dark night in 1972. On the wet leaves in my parent’s front yard. In Tennessee when the dark melts thru your bones. My younger brother, Clay and I lie on a quilt looking at stars.

It was Christmas vacation. I was a nursing student at Austin Peay State University-independent and and immature-afraid and cocky- Clay was only 11 years old.

He looked up at the sky and said, ” Look at the fire in the sky, shooting bottle rockets into the stars.”

I said, ” Do you hear the wind in the trees whistling through the ghosts?”

He snuggled closer and said, ” Do mother and daddy love me?

When are you coming home? Why does Daddy leave us?”

Before I could answer we were cocooned in a sandwich of childhood fears.

On a dark cold night in September 1986 the policeman came and knocked on the back door.

” Are you the parents of Clay?” they asked.

” Yes, we are.” They knew in their hearts it was the worst news a parent never wants to bear.

” Your son has been murdered his body is at the morgue.

I can’t forget the cold dark night on Sept 25,1986. Clay Baby was 25 years old. And never again on a cold dark night would we look at the stars together.

I remember looking into the mirror

I remember looking into the mirror

I remember looking into a mirror when I was a girl. There were two brown moles the size of diamonds on the right side of my face. The same birthmarks as my grandmother, Laura. I called hers ” beautymarks.”

I remember looking into the mirror to curl my eyelashes with a metal instrument of torture. Diane said” Put the eyelashes in the blades and squeeze here.” I wanted to look and be just like Diane.

I remember looking into the mirror to examine the cut above my right eyebrow. Except it wasn’t a cut anymore. It was a scar. I don’t know how it got there but it still hurts.

I remember looking into the mirror and touching the deep fissure between my eyebrows that ran from my nose to my forehead. They say it happens to people who think and feel too much.

I remember looking into the mirror and seeing the broken tooth where Galen slapped me in the face.

I remember his Dad handing me the tooth in a Kleenex and saying, ” I found your tooth!” He was happy and thought I should be as well.

I remember looking into the mirror at my black and blue eyes. A family event that I was the pig.

I remember plucking my wooly eyebrows and thinking my mother needs to do this to hers.

I remember smearing lipstick on my parched lips hoping I would be desirable.

I remember looking in the mirror and watching the reflection of me age to my grandmother’s face.

Now when I look in the mirror I’m glad I’m still in there.

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