Sunday, August 10, 2008

Edsel...part one?

Just words today folks.

Edsel was known for her large pink knees and her unmanageable, untamable hair. It would curl around her face and fingers and tumble down her back in thick brown waves. A simple turn of her graceful head would cause a thousand knots. Since Edsel was a small girl, her mother fretted and pulled at her hair with a wooden comb. Many times people have tried to saw off Edsel’s hair, but no knife, no pair of scissors, were strong enough to cut through.
It was combed three times a day, right after each meal. Her mother’s hard working hands and tanned arms would wrap around Edsel’s frail girlish body as she ripped through the tangles and nests and webs. Edsel whimpered and cried while her mother uttered small curses under her breath, damning the rats nests that would build up within a few hours. More than once, Edsel’s mother condemned her to live with the rats, where she surly belonged.

Edsel was the thirteenth child of thirteen children. The moment her mother realized she was pregnant with Edsel-walking home after selling beets at the market and feeling a stir in the pit behind her stomach, looking up to the sky and trees and seeing only confirmation- she prayed for an easy birth and a strong healthy boy.
Edsel’s mother, whose name was Glenda, never prayed to God or Mary or some figuring above the fireplace. She held her breath till the middle of the night, till her husband and children asleep, and she’d sneak outdoors. Glenda did the same ritual every time she found herself with child, braving snow, rain, cold. She’d tiptoe past the muddy yard, through the beet garden that she tended daily, down an old forgotten path in the nearby woods till she reached a field and she’d creep her way to the top of the tallest hills.
What Glenda didn’t know that centuries before she and her humble family moved to their small plot of land and Glenda was called to the hill whenever she felt a second life within her, that very hill was a gathering place for old women. They would meet at the top when they realized it’d soon be their time to die. They’d sit together, sometimes in a circle, sometimes holding hands or embracing each other, and let wisdom sprinkle over them so they could spread it to the young while they had the time. Centuries before that it was a meeting spot for witches. They emerged from the night as shadows, as dark beings whose eyes were as black as their hair. They never whispered a word to each other but silently slit the throat of a chicken or sheep and let the warm blood drip down their cheeks and breasts.
Glenda would kick off her shoes at the foot of the hill and walk up barefoot. Once she reached the top, she slowly, as if in a trance, take off her nightgown. She’d then take of her underwear and stretch her arms and her body to the moon, which always seemed to hang directly above the hill. Glenda closed her eyes and the chill of the winter air, the hammer of the rain, even the sweet summer smells all disappeared and she whispered and her voice would travel directly to the moons heart, where it would stay and be treasured as something sweet and light. The moon would return it once it decided whether to grant Glenda’s pleas or not.
When Edsel was born the birth was easy on Glenda, and she was grateful for her wish to be half-met.

Edsel’s father was a distant man who rarely came home from work and when he did he was rarely sober. When she turned thirteen he grabbed Edsel’s thin wrist and announced it was time for her to pay back what she owed him for being born and fed for thirteen years. Glenda, knowing what this meant- the same was done to three of her other daughters, kissed Edsel on the cheek fiercely. Glenda had no token of faith to give her daughter, for she prayed to the night and the night had no figurines or toys, so she gave Edsel the wooden comb she had ripped through her scalp daily and the only piece of advice she could give her daughter.
It doesn’t get any better.
And with a few tears, Edsel was dragged away from her shabby home and her mother’s beet garden and past the small town and into the nearest city where she was sold into the first whore house her father spotted.

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