Hannah’s Place (3)


Shawna with the long braids and rainbow beads stares at me.  She chews with her mouth open, bits of soggy bread and turkey rolling between her teeth.  “So, get lost?” Her eyes narrow, sharp slits of brown locked on my face.

I stab at my turkey, slip powdered mash potatoes around in a circle.  I organize the peas like green pearls around my plate.

“Witchy, I’m talking.  You deaf? You don’t belong there.”

In a way, she’s right. In a way that is deep and true and sharp, a way that is carved into my bones where no one can see.  No one can see, but I can feel how jagged and uneven they are, split seams with steel stuffing that scrapes against my skin.  She’s right. I don’t belong.

“Deaf people are stupid, know that? Deaf. Dumb. Blind. Figures, some witchy white girl from the country. Probably married to a cousin!” Her biting laugh echoes in my ears.  A poor white girl lost in a sea of scars and toughness that is way too big, so far out of her league.

“What do you want?” I say trying to match the strength and force of her words. I want them to sting, to burn against her cheeks with embarrassment. But they’re weak, a whisper, a passive plea.

“What do I want? Girl, you have no idea. But you – you don’t sit there.  That’s for one of us.  Whiny, soft girls sit down there.” She points to the end of the table, five chairs down.

“No different than here,” I say, my words becoming stronger like cement.  But I’m all red, a brilliant cape dangling in front of the charging bull that’s been cramped in a cage for far too long.

“Fuck off, Shawna.  Go pick on first graders of something. You’re good at bullying babies,” Roan says.  Her voice is precise, sharp.  She knows how to protect me, how to protect herself even though she’s fifteen.

“You’re a dyke, Roan. Protecting your bitch? What you think this is, prison?” Shawna slaps her thighs and laughs. A couple of the other girls start to laugh, oohing and aahing, priming the air for an all-out fight.

“Yeah, well better watch your ass then when you sleep, eh?” Roan places her tiny hands on the table, pushes herself up with pride. I can see her staring, her eyes burning right through Shawna’s act. She has a fork in her hand, clenched tight.  But it’s plastic.

“Girl, girls, come on now. This isn’t how we act here. Don’t set a bad example for the new girl.  She’s just as welcome,” Casey says as she carries a plate of colored wafers to the table.  I wonder how long she’d stood there in the kitchen with her ear to the door, listening for the moment she had to come in to stop the heat.

Shawna rolls her dark eyes, a deep pit of brown like the bottom of a swamp.  I hate her. Fear hear. Am fascinated by her.


6 Responses to “Hannah’s Place (3)”

  1. That last sentence is wonderful. It ties up the emotions so well!

  2. 3 fojap

    Are you really having a hard time selling this? Wow. Glad I never set my heart on being a writer.

    It’s interesting. It’s really vivid. I like the way you can sum up an entire atmosphere in a couple of words. I feel like I can see the place even though you rarely describe it in detail.

    I almost never read memoirs.

    • Thanks! Yea, I’m learning more and more about the selling aspect of getting published, about what’s hot, not and in-between. I need to be more strategic, I think, about how I present myself. If I could only get someone to read the whole thing….sigh. All the positive comments, though, keep my spirit up.

  3. No offense. While that is something I could improve, I haven’t had anyone offer to read my work from my query letter in the first place! But it is a reminder to always double check and not rely on spell check in this day and age. ::)

    • I can’t understand why they don’t want to review your work. It’s worth publishing. At least I think so.

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