Permanent Black (2)


I hadn’t spoken to Brad in over six months. Not since the last phone call that ended in another phone hitting the wall. That time, it broke. That time, I broke. I only remember cracked voices and silence, pauses that hung heavy in the air like the humid Michigan summers that made my stomach sick.

I’m no longer that girl, the one with permed hair and perfectly rolled pants that I tucked into my socks. I changed my name to Lennon. I bought a pair of combat boots from the Army surplus store. I started stealing my mom’s menthols and dropping acid on the weekends with the gay boys who wear mascara and black eyeliner.

It all started when my dad kicked me out. The cursed words, “You are going to live with your mom!” was all it took. One phone call and several hours later, my mom tore into the driveway in a beat up Toyota with a bad muffler, a new boyfriend with a handlebar mustache.

It took two hours to hit the Indiana state line. I scrapped my past at the border. I sat in the back of the station wagon cutting my permed hair with cheap, rusty scissors and a broken compact. Reddish-brown locks fell onto the floor as corn fields cried out, stretching their stalks towards the sun.My mother chain-smoked, blowing gray clouds that drifted out the window, telling me that I should have worked things out with my dad; He loved me best.

When we pulled into the driveway of my mom’s house, I could see the jagged and bitter river that ran through downtown Elkhart. I scrambled down the steep slope, sharp sticks catching on my clothes. I grabbed my name, my past, all my secrets and held them under water until they stopped screaming and kicking. I held them until they grew limp and soft, until they drowned. I threw in all my old journals and scraps of stories with familiar, childhood names and let the currents twist and turn until the ink ran away, the pages soggy and white. I watched as the river dragged its’ icy fingers along the murky bottom until the sound of semis hauling rusty car parts and RV engines danced against the night sky.


11 Responses to “Permanent Black (2)”

  1. Lennon,

    ‘I love this’ is not suffice.

    This is the stuff that gets published. How’s that? Cause it’s true!

    ‘I grabbed my name, my past, all my secrets and held them under water until they stopped screaming and kicking. I held them until they grew limp and soft, until they drowned.’ This is perfect.

    • Thanks Terah. I’m keeping the faith that I will (eventually) get published. Right now, I’m finishing up my memoir. Probably start pushing it in a month or two. This piece is an earlier work, but I’m glad it is resonating with so many people. Gives me hope!

  2. Very, very good. I felt the emotions and that’s a point for you! Great job!

  3. The last two paragraphs are amazing. Falls into the “I wish I had written that” category. Great job.

  4. 7 pinklightsabre

    Like it.

  5. As always – good quality stuff.

  6. Like this one. You really know how to pack tons of imagery, convey events and emotions with amazing conciseness.
    The first 2 paragraphs are prime examples in my very humble and uneducated in writing opinion.

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