After only a week, the house echoes my steps. The tall pines lean in like dark fingers. Amy is gone and there is no word from her. All of her life she’s been filling this house with the crystal shards of her voice, the dust of her anger. It’s not like her not to write. It’s been 14 days since I hugged her stiff body and watched her board the train. She took little with her and promised she’d write as soon as she arrived at the hotel. But the days keep growing into each other, becoming a larger and larger silence her Pa and I carry. Where are you Amy?
Last week, the neighborhood ladies came to our house for tea. I’d tried to put on a good face. Put out my best china. We don’t have much, but what we have I was sure to display. As we sat eating the sweet cakes I’d baked, the ladies took turns oohing and ah-ing about Amy’s adventure. Or, lamenting my loss. She was such a good girl! They’d say. What do you think you did to drive her away? What’s not said as I paste a tight smile on my lips is my response. How about your Joe? He’s been gone since the war. You hear from him lately? We are all islanded in our own grief. But, what flows around us is the same dark sea: a generation of sadness. I’m new to my island. But I recognize we are all here. We are all waiting for words to wash up on our shore: I’m alive Momma. I’m missing you. I’ll see you real soon.
Amy (After 10 Days Captivity)
Last night when I woke, it was still dark and the air was cool with fall’s breath. When I looked through the cracks of the wall the whole street shone like sieves of golden light. Every day I listen for his heavy footsteps on the stairs, the weight of his step. Knowing, if the door swings open I will have to face his question again.
Are you ready to fuck now?
How can I sleep, knowing that is all that waits for me? He must be the Madame’s partner. He usually comes in the late afternoon reeking of whiskey and dirt and oil. He’s so tall the top of his dark hair brushes the low ceilings of the attic. Every time he asks, he half smiles, a crooked smile, and shoves a pie tin filled with a slice of stale bread spread with grease toward the corner I cower in.
You start fucking and the food will get much better girl. He says as I lower my head.
At first, he only threatened, made rude movements with his hips. Now, when he comes in, he slaps me across the face. Then, throws his weight against me. I scream and scream but there is no one to hear me. Only a darkness I wish upon myself. An escape from my stolen body.
When it is over, he stands, pulls up his canvas pants and laughs.
Here’s your food bitch. Can’t say you did much to earn it.