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Horse made of glass - Part 2
by Katerina Charisi
2017-05-28 11:49:06
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She put everything back in the cabinet and looked at the half-filled upper shelf. “It should be always full”, she murmured. “So many shelves and all empty. Mountains around and green land and all empty. Four mouths to feed.”

“What was that?”


Her husband dragged his slippers out of the kitchen. “We can’t have them full now, can we?”

She had a lot to say about the “now” of his, about all the “nows” he has said. Everything was “now” and “at the moment” and everything was the same all the time. She said nothing instead. Few moments later another moan and the springs rattled as he fell heavy on the bed. His tooth got worse. Almost a week and they held their breaths for not driving him mad.

She thought of how many times she skipped lunch so the kids would eat enough and her husband would find his plate full on the table. How many times she soaked dry bread in water and then put it in the sugar vase, taking small bits and chewing slowly counting twenty seconds for each bite, trying to fool her hunger until late at night. And then, when everyone was asleep, she would carefully take the paper bag out of the cabinet and unfold it, cursing each time it made a sound, and she’d eat a few chips or salty peanuts with a lot of water.

She thought of the times the boy asked her for something to eat and each time she felt a pinch in her gut for having nothing. Her worst was when he added “anything you want, I’ll eat anything you give me”, meaning he was so hungry he would eat dry bread or the green pasta he hated.

hors01_400She thought each and every of those times when the boys asked her for something to eat and she had tried everything she could out of the leftovers and the remnants in the cabinet; oat flakes soaked in water, boiled rice with chopped fennel she’d pick from outside, a hardboiled egg cut in half, and when they were still hungry she felt tears running down her cheeks, burning like acid, and in uncontrollable sobs and a shaking body she said “there’s nothing else left to give you, there’s nothing else left!”

Cursed land that never gave them anything but bits of everything just to get them barely going. Land bursting in life and still they somehow managed to have nothing. Sometimes it felt like the mountain itself tried to tell her that going up there to live was another mistake she had made.

The little one broke the tense, as always. Like he could feel desperation piling up and building a wall of desperate moments.

“Mommy, I love you”, he said with his thin and cartoonish voice. “You the best mommy of all mommies in the world”. He turned his large eyes to the closed bedroom’s door and added “You too, daddy”. His father snorted behind the yellow patches of putty scattered on the badly made wooden door.

“Love ya son”, his voice escaped under the door, in a tone maybe indicating he had more to say but he didn’t. Silence fell heavy on their shoulders. The echo of her husband’s voice bouncing in her ears.

She remembered one day the boy was swinging his legs under the table and one, two, three and he kicked harder and hit the table. The glass of moonshine his father was drinking rattled and then rolled at its side, and she held her breath as she watched it rolling and spilling moonshine on the table soaking the tablecloth, and some of it spilled in her husband’s plate and the mashed potatoes. Alcohol’s smell filled the air and the boy kept his head low and sunk on his chair and her husband’s fists clenched and his knuckles whitened, and she still hadn’t breathe.

He stuck his face to the boy’s face, his beard brushed the boy’s soft chin that turned immediately red and he spat the words as he yelled “What have I told you about how to behave?” and the boy still kept his eyes down and his pupils looked like glass marbles in some sick flipper game, trying to escape his eyes. “Do you ever understand a single word shitface?” he added next and she felt a stung in her heart and the boy sucked his nose. He forced his eyes to look at his father and said “yes sir, I do”, and her husband pushed the boy’s thin bony chest and thrust his fist on the table and yelled “You ain’t understand shit!” and then the little one, still a baby back then woke up and began to cry.

She knew she had to shush him for not making things even worse but in those spinning seconds she couldn’t decide whether she’d leave the boy alone with his father for knowing the poison he dripped from his mouth blackening the boy’s little heart, or tell him to go with her and help her with the baby. She eventually swallowed and iced her voice.

“Go and check your brother”.

She looked at the boy and said “I love you too, sweetie”, talking to the little one. The boy lowered his eyes and focused on his socks, pushing a finger inside a hole to his big left toe and moved it until it got big enough to stick his toe out of the sock and wiggled it. The little one giggled and suck his thumb.

“Don’t do that”, she said to the boy. The little one squeezed on her thigh, embracing her leg, sucking noisily his thumb. She pulled his hand away.

“Don’t, honey” and she gently pushed the little one away and looked around, trying to think of something to keep her mind occupied from going back to all painful memories. The toddler stuck his thumb again in his mouth with force and he retched. She slapped his tiny hand.

“I told you not to, damn it!” Her voice almost a shriek, like she put in those words all the other words she never let out but she regretted right away and closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. The little one’s bottom lip trembled.

“Go to your room, please”, she said eventually, her voice calmer now. “Find something to play with”, she added and fixed her eyes on the boy, telling him in silence that he was in charge now, please let me be alone for a second, I just need a break.

The boy stood on his feet and smiled at his little brother.

“Goin’ to get ya!” he said and wiggled his fingers, ready to tickle his brother’s ribs.

“No!” the little one screamed and laughed and ran straight to their room. The boy let his arms drop on his sides and walked out of the kitchen, looking at his mom’s face one more time before turning his back.

“And put another sock on your foot”.

“I ain’t got any”.


Horse made of glass – Part 1 -Part 2 -Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6Part 7 -


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