Ten Mile, TN

  1. “I am held by the beauty, without forgetting the poison.”Image

I’m not sure if I was mad at my mamaw or my mom, but I raced down that hill to get away. I was stuck in the middle of nowhere, Ten Mile, and there was nothing to do inside but stare at the huge flat screen TV that took up the entire living room. The long, long gravel road that took me to the white house felt like miles, but I ran until I felt the earth turning flat again, and the mosquitos were biting me like I was in a plague. Sometimes I counted them, forty-two. I looked over to my left, and the grass was taller than me. A long time ago, Papaw and I would pick strawberries, bright red like his sunburn. Right next to it was the ghost of a pin where the goats once sat, where one ate my jacket and I pouted for weeks. I walked a bit further, where the small white house sat, falling into the soil as if waiting to die. Deer walked up to that porch and ate the dog food for basset hound named Baby. My mom and I would stare out the window, the deer gracefully moving about, not knowing at all that it was being watched by its every move. I could almost see all the kittens running about, born every so month like they were building cities, litter after litter. My favorite cat was Sissy, but my mom ran her over when I was six on my way to kindergarten, I cried that whole day. There was also Smoky, and Salt and Pepper. I named them all like I was the mayor. I reached the tree, where the branches went all around like monkey bars. I could still climb to the top, no problem. The branches were close and easy to climb, and they helped me as they stretched out their arms. I hid inside that tree, thinking about Santa Clause trail, the one where he left his slay, and the peaches we used to eat, and how everything was so brown now, and why was it was so brown and why were we even fighting, I didn’t care. I just wished that it wasn’t so brown and Papaw stopped talking about going to heaven and start picking strawberries with me again, or get me that horse he always said he would. If only I could disappear into those branches and fall back in time when bruises were my trophies to show off. If only those branches would hold me closer, a portal to the apples I’d peel with Mamaw and the Christmases I thought would last forever. But those branches were growing old, and I knew I couldn’t sit in them forever, and I think I heard one of them crack. I got down from the tree and walked slowly back to the house where dinner would be ready to eat in front of the flat screen TV, blaring some reality show.


Published by celinamcmanus

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