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Without The Moon

By: ratlover
ratlover's Profile

Age: not specified
Sex: female
Location: Birmingham AL

Other Passer Name(s):
not specified

Without The Moon Synopsis

This is a chapter from the novel I'm writing titled, "Innocents Have Been Changed (to protect the names)" It is a work of fiction, but it's somewhat autobiographical.



My grandmother owned a beauty shop in our small town when I

was young. I was at the shop more often than I was at home. My

dad had died when I was four and I loved to sweep and fold

towels for Nannie. I gathered great memories and some horrible

secrets at that shop. One evening, I was there along with

Mama, Aunt Janice, and a few cousins. These being my

recollections alone, I can't know exactly how old I was. I do

know that I was very young but it was after daddy's death.

That meant I had to be about five. It was summertime and I was

wearing shorts. Well, what I was wearing was a sun-suit. These

one-piece outfits were very popular with little girls in the

fifties. Moreover, they were made of cool cotton. The

spaghetti straps tied at the top of each shoulder, it had an

elastic waist and elastic legs at the top of the thighs.

I was old enough to know that what happened to me that night

was oh so very wrong. I was young enough to not know what to

do about it. I was young enough to believe a man would hurt

me, my sisters, and even my mama if I made trouble for him. I

was old enough (or was it young enough) that I believed if I

confided in my mother, she'd make things right. She wouldn't

get hurt and she wouldn't let my sisters get hurt. Old enough

to be scared stiff and young enough to be scared stiff. That's

a paradox isn't it?

Aunt Jan was married to Paul Thomas at the time. He was (in my

memories) a drunk who played a little guitar. He always stank

of old cigarettes, beer and cheap hair grease. He didn't work.

Later, I realized he seemed to think he was quite the ladies'

man. He thought himself to be handsome and a great catch for

Aunt Janice. He was, in fact, ugly, stupid and insecure.

He'd hit Christie with his belt and if you were close enough,

he'd get you too. He didn't seem to be drinking the night he

stopped by the shop. Aunt Jan worked at Nannie's shop and I

thought he was there to get her. I was wrong.

He was driving a truck (maybe a rental) to some place far

enough away that he'd be gone for a good while. I'd never been

in a truck like that. I wanted to go with him. It sounded like

it was going to be a real adventure. Mama said I could go. I

remember wondering why none of the other kids wanted to go.

Anyway, we set out on what turned out to be a real adventure

indeed. This adventure prepared me for other life events to

come. Walking to the truck, I made a point of looking up at

the moon, as I always did when I was riding in a car at night.

It wasn't there and that temporarily scared me. When daddy was

alive, I remember questioning him about the fact that the moon

seemed to be in the sky every time we went somewhere at night.

He had told me, "The moon follows you wherever you go, Maisie.

It follows you because you're special." I was taken aback by

the moon's absence, but quickly dismissed the eerie feeling I

had because at the time I didn't recognize it as a bad feeling.

Jim picked me up and deposited me onto the high front seat.

The only way I could see out the windshield was to sit on the

very front of the seat and lean forward as far as I could.

However, when we started to move, he said that that was too

dangerous. He told me I'd have to sit at the back of the seat

and sit close to him so I didn't fall in the floor. When I sat

like that, my legs were sticking straight out in front of me.

So out of habit (one I have even today), I tucked my legs

under me Indian-style. I couldn't see anything except the

dashboard and the radio light. I felt a little giddy because I

was getting to go on this adventure with no other kids. I

can't remember if the incident happened on the way to where we

were going or on the way back to Dunn. When I try to recall, I

find that I can't even recall ever arriving anywhere but back

home. I know there was music playing on the radio, but I could

barely hear anything above the roar of the truck's motor. I

know that the stick shift bar came out of the floor right in

front of my legs. There was a white ball on the top of it. Jim

was changing gears over and over again. I was watching him and

wondering at the complexity of it all. It was, after all, all

I could see. When he stopped manipulating the stick this time,

he took his hand off the white ball instead of letting it

linger there as he had before. This time he laid his big hand

on my knee. I didn't mind, it seemed the natural place for it

since he had me tucked so closely to him for my safety.

He started to tickle my knee. I laughed aloud. Suddenly, he

started to tickle the inside of my thigh. Then his hand was

just stroking me, probing. I stopped laughing and began to

feel peculiar. I began to feel a tickling inside my stomach. I

had only felt like that once or twice before. One of my great

uncles was very tall. When we went to see him, he would scoop

me up and lift me high until my head touched the ceiling. He

did this in one sudden move. I'd feel that same rushing tickle

in the pit of my stomach. It was like swinging as high as I

could in a rubber seat that surrounded me. It felt chilling

and breathtaking, but treacherous at the same time. Suddenly,

Jim's big, rough fingers were pulling at the elastic leg of my

outfit. His hand was inside my clothes. Now, my face grew hot.

He was feeling around as if he were exploring, as if he was

trying to figure out what was under my clothes and between my

legs. I remember briefly thinking he must be stupid. This was

a grown man. He was Christie's step-dad and lived with her.

She was my age. Surely, he knew what was down there. Then, at

last, he must have found what he was searching for. His

fingers slowed their movement. The tickling in my stomach had

changed to what?...... stirring? fluttering? No, it was stronger

than that. I couldn't find a word for the sensation surging

through my body. I was confused, and I could hardly breathe. I

felt a bristle from head to toe. The feeling of buzzing. This

was such an extraordinary feeling. Good or bad, it was

extraordinary. Why had I not felt it before? I thought he

surely knew magic. That had to be it. He knew tricks that no

one else knew. It was like an amazing carnival ride. You don't

want it to ever stop.

When we were kids and had nothing better to do, we'd catch

June bugs. We had an abundance of these shiny, green bugs in

the summer. (Later, I read that they are a type of dung beetle-

how appropriate.) We'd tie a string on its front leg, and then

hold the end of the string while it flew around and around. It

didn't kill the bug; we'd let it go after a few minutes. I

remember thinking of what it felt like to hold a June bug.

When you cupped your hands around one, its legs were probing

and sticky and it buzzed. As it fluttered its wings, it buzzed

in your hands. As I was puzzling all this over in my mind, Jim

spoke to me. We had not said anything in a long time. His

words mystified me fully. He said if I ever told what I'd

done, I'd be in real trouble. Why would he say such a thing?

I'd be in trouble? The only time I'd been in trouble was when

I'd done something wrong. What had I done wrong? I tried and

tried to stop buzzing. That had to be what he was talking

about. That's all I had been doing. I had buzzed. I was still

buzzing, even though I wanted to stop. He told me if I ever

told anyone what I had done, I'd be sorry. He told me he would

hurt my sisters and my mama if I ever told. He punctuated that

statement by thrusting his jagged old finger at me. I yelped.

It hurt and scared me, so I began to cry. He said if I ever

told, he'd hurt me very bad when he saw me again. He

said, "You don't want anyone else to get hurt, do you"? No, of

course not. Unexpectedly, I knew. I knew he had not been

searching for anything. He knew what was down there. I had

been tricked.

I told mama all about it as soon as Jim let me out at the

beauty shop. When I began to talk to her, she looked at me. I

knew she was listening to me. As I continued to whisper to

her, she stopped looking at me. I knew she was mad at me. She

knew I had done something wrong. Even though I didn't tell her

that part, she somehow knew about the buzzing. From then on,

everyone seemed to know I buzzed. I told mama he had hurt me.

When I had finished, she (still not looking at me) walked over

to Janice and began to whisper to her. Janice looked at me and

then, as mama spoke to her, she glared at me. Now both of them

knew about the buzzing and both of them were mad at me. I

didn't get a spanking. In fact, mama never spoke to me about

that night. No admonitions, no assurances. That was not to be

the last time I buzzed like that as a child. It was just an

introduction. It was, however, the last time I thought of it

as magical. From then on, there was simply something wrong

about me.

ratlover (Rate Passer) added to this story on Mon, Nov 09 2009 15:43:14 EST
Print Without The Moon
Genre: Drama
Created: 11-09-2009
Word Count: 2057

Copyright © 2008-2019 ratlover. All rights reserved.

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