#223 Pieces

by Allison Williams

Her mother is always cutting out pieces from old aprons. Her father is putting on his boots for evening ride-out and asking if she’ll come. And she herself is watching his grey head bowed as he steps out the door, her words un-take-back-able, her love for him and the farm and her own little room packed away as carefully as she’d packed her single bag.

The bus came slowly then, lumping through the early snowfall turned to early slush, the field she’d cut across bare gold-brown stubble against big grey sky.

The bus now lumbers to a halt, the corner of Queen and John as far from the prairie as she could get with the money saved from babysitting and winter beans and selling her pig, money that was for college but withdrawable all the same.

She tells herself it’s better not to leave a message, that knowing her now, the her that owns two phones, one with the agency’s number on speed dial, would be worse than not knowing at all. But still, she lets the bus go by into the hazy heat and steps back to drag twice more on her cigarette, pull out the smarter of her two phones and dial.

“You have reached 780-525-7588. Gina, if this is you, please come home. We are not mad and we love you. Tell us where to pick you up and we will come and get you, no matter where. We love you. Please leave a message.”

3 comments:

everywordiwrite said...

There's been an ad recently about a missing-persons hotline. It's very sparse - it shows a young man stepping into a phone box and then an older woman in her kitchen whose phone starts to ring. She picks it up and starts to sob. It is so brief and it makes me cry every damn time.

This is just full of that same feeling.

halfshellvenus said...

as far from the prairie as she could get with the money saved from babysitting and winter beans and selling her pig, money that was for college but withdrawable all the same.

I love this vivid list of ordinary things piled toward her escape, and the sense of desperation in choosing just to run rather than run toward something with a future, like college.

There's also the implication that she works for the "agency" as a prostitute, and is now bound to be trapped in her choice by shame rather than the original desire to simply be somewhere else.

Cezarija Abartis said...

This is witty (as Gina pulls out "the smarter of her two phones") and moving (Gina knows her family loves her).