1966
Meneese Wall

 

Old Spice walked our hallway at night, head of the house, drunk on Jesus – a tall, slender man with bloated confidence in the veracity and superiority of his choices. Not satiated by lingerie and lace at his end, he cruised to the other for flannel’s consolation.

Family members watched from their hanging prisons of wood and gilded plaster as he paraded his hubris past them. Their tintype expressions broadcast their collective protest of incarceration in this family milieu.

Outside, the world didn’t exist.

Inside, only the sandpaper reverberations of his slippers divulged his nocturnal routine. With each step’s advance, Chatty Cathy slowed her talking to a breathless whisper. Barbie and Skipper locked themselves in their case as the gnomes that prowled the realm behind my headboard hid under rocks. GI Joe couldn’t help, not since my brother flushed his head down the toilet.

Creak … announced the bedroom door. Lurch’s depraved double peered in. Every joint in my body groaned with that same grating vibration, as I conjured invisibility. Surely the others heard it; my deafness to all else persuaded me of that. My eyes burned in spite of their overflowing moisture.

Paralysis wafted in – carnations and cloves, with spicy cinnamon and vanilla, all coated in peppery faded-wood dominance. Applied each morning, it was virility in a white bottle with a navy blue warship and blood red font. Did the others smell the guile, cloaked under their thick blankets from the marauder’s grasp?

My lungs searched for air but found only darkness. Chatty Cathy squeezed me tight. Even in winter’s gloom, his shadow was long.

As snow fell, complicity assailed my springtime of life. Another fetid blue Sunday.

 

Meneese Wall amalgamates various avocations inside her Santa Fe crucible – writer, graphic designer, domestic slave, healthcare guru, wife, and mother to a catalytic daughter (not necessarily in that order). More of her creative dexterity can be found on her website.